§ On the Motion that this Bill be considered, as amended, by the Standing Committee,
With respect to offences committed in prisons for which corporal punishment may be ordered, the following provisions shall apply:—
(1) Such offences shall be deemed to be offences triable by a court of summary jurisdiction, and every case shall be finally heard and determined in manner provided by the Summary Jurisdiction Acts: Provided always that the court may order any punishment for such offences in substitution for, or in addition to, corporal punishment which the governor is by the rules made under this Act empowered to order for other offences; and provided that
the court may commit the accused for trial if the evidence discloses a criminal offence other than breach of prison rules and discipline.
(2) Some convenient place in every prison may be appointed by the Secretary of State to be used as an occasional court house for the petty sessional division in which such prison shall be situate, where only charges of such offences committed within such prison shall be heard and determined, or otherwise dealt with according to law.
(3) Every place so appointed shall be in addition to any place appointed as an occasional court house by the justices of a petty sessional division under the Summary Jurisdiction Act, 1879, and the appointment shall not be varied by such justices.
(4) If no occasional court house is appointed by the Secretary of State, charges of such offences shall be heard and determined in the usual court house of the petty sessional division wherein the prison is situate."—(Mr. H. D. Greene.)
§ *MR. H. D. GREENE (Shrewsbury)
Mr. Speaker, although I have put down this Amendment, I wish to disclaim any desire to embarrass the Government or the Secretary of State for the Home Department by any controversy about the matter. In the Standing Committee on Law perhaps one of the most prominent topics for consideration was the question of the abolition of corporal punishment in gaols. No one can deny that the Home Secretary, in his conduct of this Bill through the Committee, readily adopted suggestions in the direction of humanity towards the prisoners which were brought forward on either side. I believe that when this Bill has been passed into law it will be considered one of the greatest achievements of the Government during the present year. Sir, the question of corporal punishment in prisons was, as I have said, an abstract question considered by the Committee, and some Members objected to it altogether, and desired to entirely deprive the gaol authorities of all power in the matter. It was pointed out that in Ireland and Scotland no such power is possessed by the authorities in charge of the local prisons; and it was also pointed out that in the English local prisons, although the power is possessed, yet it has been exercised with considerable diminution of frequency during the last few years. I believe I am correct in saying that the weight of authority upon the Committee was in favour of retaining the right to administer corporal 416 punishment in very exceptional cases only. It was deemed right that it should be kept in reserve as a last resource, and then should only be permitted if surrounded with great precautions. I maintained an open mind upon this subject for some time until two right honourable Gentlemen opposite convinced me, and led me to take the course I did in proposing some such Amendment as that which is now before the House. The right honourable Gentleman who represents Fife, and who was Secretary of State for the Home Department in the last Government, most forcibly presented the case against flogging to the Committee. He held that it should never be administered by any officer unless as the result of some decision arrived at by a judicial tribunal. His argument in favour of that view seemed to me to be overwhelming. The right honourable Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton, who also has held high office in the Home Office, and who has been able to watch the working of the Prison Statutes, supplemented the argument of the right honourable Gentleman in a forcible speech. His argument, based probably upon his own experience in office, was that it should be the result of the decision of a judicial tribunal, arrived at in open court. These are the two principles which I hope this House will affirm as the condition upon which corporal punishment may be continued in gaols for prison offences. Sir, when I suggested that these two conditions might be met by permitting the court of petty sessions for the district in which the gaol is situate to be the judicial tribunal to dispose of these matters as though they were ordinary offences against the general law of the land, the Home Secretary met my proposal with two arguments. He said, firstly, that you must not put a slight upon visiting justices who at present are the tribunal, and his second objection was that there was a difficulty in holding an open court in prison. To deal with the first of these objections, visiting justices are the tribunal only in local prisons. In the case of convict prisons the Home Secretary is to appoint a board of visitors—there is no specific number. He may appoint as many as he likes or as few as he likes. They are not necessarily possessed of 417 any judicial qualification or experience, and they may or may not act upon any occasion that suits them. Therefore the tribunal for convict prisons is one which will be very uncertain in its action, and I venture to think very incomplete in its qualifications. The Home Secretary found a difficulty about having an open court; but there is an open court now in the case of the death of a prisoner—the coroner's court—and I have never yet heard that any scandal arises from coroner's inquests being held in the gaol. On the other hand, the public gets a great advantage—namely, the publicity which arises through the revelations in the Press. There is frequently complete exculpation in regard to any charge of misconduct on the part of the prison officials when the evidence is disclosed in the course of the revelations in the Press. Now, the offences for which corporal punishment may be inflicted under this Bill are set forth in clause 4, and it will be found that it is only in the cases of mutiny, or incitement to mutiny, or gross personal violence to an officer or servant of the prison that corporal punishment may be awarded. If the Bill remains as it is, it will only be, so to speak, for an offence against prison discipline. Adopt my Amendment, and it will be for an offence against the general law of the land. If there are offences against the law of the land it seems but reasonable that they should be triable by the court in the locality, which is entirely independent of gaol influence. The provision I suggest will enable the tribunal to award any punishment which the governor may deem fit for an ordinary offence, if the tribunal is of opinion that flogging is too severe a punishment for it; it will enable the tribunal to award some dietary punishment, or some loss of marks, or something of that kind, instead of corporal punishment. On the other hand, provision is made for flogging, if it is thought that what has been done, such as violence, to an officer, amounts to an offence which deserves it, and in serious cases the tribunal can commit for trial. I have suggested that the Home Secretary should have an open court. He could either put in force the provisions of the Summary Jurisdiction Act, and have an occasional court- 418 house in the gaol, or, if he thought fit, he could have the prisoner sent to the ordinary petty sessions house, where the justices are summoned in the ordinary course, and can dispose of the case in the ordinary way. I make this proposal with the object of carrying out the two principles which I have just mentioned were laid down by the right honourable gentleman, who has had great experience in this matter, and who advocated that they should be embodied in any Amendment which the Home Secretary might make to the Bill. The Amendment of the Home Secretary suggests that, except by order of the visiting committee, and after inquiry on oath, no corporal punishment shall be administered. But the board of visitors, or visiting committee, may consist of persons without the very slightest judicial experience of any kind whatever. They would not be assisted by a law clerk, they would not be governed by the rules of evidence according to the strict procedure which is required under the Summary Jurisdiction Act. They would in no sense be a court. The prisoner would not have the right of being heard before them and of making his defence in any way he chooses. The final decision would rest with the three members of the visiting committee. We are not told whether the inquiry is to be surrounded by the ordinary forms of judicial proceedings. An inquiry on oath is by no means necessarily a judicial inquiry, and I therefore venture to think that would be unsatisfactory. But the Home Secretary reserves an alternative. He may, if he thinks fit, appoint a metropolitan police magistrate, or a stipendiary magistrate, to take the place of the board or the committee. But the fallacy of that is that, though he should appoint a judicial person, he would not be a judicial tribunal. It would certainly deprive a prisoner in gaol of that protection which I believe it is widely felt he should possess by merely seeding down such a gentleman to hold an inquiry, which may be irregular in form and unsatisfactory in its procedure. The Home Secretary's Amendment also is inconsistent with the principle laid down as one of the two essential conditions upon which this power is to be maintained, and that is, it does not provide for a public inquiry. A metropolitan 419 police magistrate may go down, and he, may hold an inquiry, but it is not required to be a public inquiry. I feel so strongly that these two points are essential that, although I have suggested that a petty sessional tribunal may be the most convenient, I will depart from my proposal if the Home Secretary will undertake to introduce some words which will make a judicial inquiry and give an open tribunal. I am quite willing to withdraw my Amendment if one more satisfactory can be put in its place. I venture to think that it is most important that a public tribunal should be given. Remember that a prisoner is not in the same position as any other accused person when he is on trial. He is surrounded with warders and officers whom he has to conciliate every day. He is not at his best physically. He is, perhaps, somewhat emaciated and weakened by the treatment to which he has been subjected. That man stands alone, without any friends to watch over him. He has to face the governor and the director of the public prison. He is not being tried as any human creature should be tried. I do not doubt that the directors of public prisons are actuated by the highest sense of honesty and fairness. But the man who is charged may well feel oppressed by his surroundings and not believe he is getting a fair trial. It is most important, if we are to punish these men, that we should do our best to instil into them the belief that justice is being done to them. Under these circumstances, I sincerely hope that some such proposal as I have made, embodying these two propositions, will be accepted by the House.
§ MR. FLOWER (Bradford, W.)
I do not think it necessary to travel into all the issues raised on this question; but, I would point out that there was an overwhelmingly strong opinion expressed by the Standing Committee on Law in favour of light and publicity being let into these prison proceedings. The idea of a prisoner being taken and subjected to such a brief form of trial or inquiry as my right honourable and learned Friend describes was by the overwhelming majority of the Standing Committee on Law said to be absolutely impossible to continue; and therefore it was that 420 when the Bill passed through our hands it was on the understanding that the Home Secretary would insert at some stage of the proceedings a provision which would embody the quality of a public tribunal. It cannot be contended that the Amendment proposed by the right honourable Gentleman does provide anything in the shape of a judicial tribunal. You do not make a judicial tribunal by merely sending down a judicial functionary. What do we mean by a judicial tribunal? It should have in it not merely the presence of a judicial functionary, but in addition the judicial quality of publicity and fairness towards the prisoner. I think when a man is exposed to so serious a punishment as corporal punishment it is not unfair or unreasonable to provide him with some means of formulating his defence the same as is possessed by any man out of gaol. Here he is tried on the evidence of warders, who, naturally, are able to get together all the materials to complete their story against him; but if the prisoner has no means of procuring assistance, no advice to which he can have access to assist him in preparing his defence, he is dragged before the tribunal seriously handicapped. Therefore I say, if corporal punishment is to continue at all in our prisons, it surely should only be after the fullest, fairest, and most public inquiry that it is possible to hold. There is one part of the Home Secretary's Amendment which I would have liked my honourable Friend to have provided for in his Amendment, and that is the part which provides for a report being made to the Secretary of State after the infliction of corporal punishment, because I do not know that it will afford much satisfaction to the prisoner who has received his lashes, but it would be some public guarantee that there will be in future greater care taken, in view of the infliction of corporal punishment, if this House will have from time to time fuller facility of ascertaining the nature of the offence for which the punishment is inflicted, and the grounds on which it is meted out. Again, I say that I hope the Home Secretary and the House will not sanction the continuance of corporal punishment in our prisons, except after a full, fair, and judicial inquiry—not before a mere judicial functionary, but before a tribunal 421 possessing all the elements of justice habitual to courts in this country.
§ *THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir M. W. RIDLEY,) Lancashire, Blackpool
It is quite right to say that this question has been discussed before the Grand Committee, Sir, and there was an understanding that I would do what I could to meet the views expressed in favour of the institution of a judicial tribunal consistently with our prison discipline. I have in the light of that promise done my very best to see if I could accept the new clause of my honourable and learned Friend, and I confess that I have come to this conclusion, that, if corporal punishment is to be retained in our prisons, it is a matter of internal discipline which cannot be satisfactorily disposed of in the way suggested by making it a subject of trial by one of our ordinary tribunals, and in the ordinary courts of law. Nor can you try a prisoner in open court (in prison), as is the case under the Summary Jurisdiction Act, without breaking down our prison discipline. The general opinion is that this punishment should be maintained, and not altogether abolished; that it is desirable to maintain it as a final resort—as the honourable Gentleman put it—for the safeguarding and protection of our warders, not with a view that it should be frequently used, but that the knowledge should prevail among offenders that such powers of punishment lay in the hands of our prison authorities. That being the case, I have limited it in this Bill. But then comes the question—who is to administer the provisions as to corporal punishment? My honourable Friend says the tribunal ought to be public—that it should have all the elements of publicity, and the fairness of a judicial tribunal. But I think everyone acquainted with prison administration will agree with me that that is an almost impossible condition of things. My honourable Friend, speaking to his Amendment, says that these matters of prison discipline ought to be tried in the light of our courts of law. But these offences which we are dealing with here 422 are not ordinary offences against the law of the land. They are offences against prison discipline; and in order to maintain our prison discipline I have it on the best authorities that I have been able to consult, that the prison authorities should have the power of punishing an offender by corporal punishment. I would also point out that the number of corporal punishments has diminished, so that in the last year there were only seven cases in the whole of our convict prisons. I do not disagree with all that has been said by my honourable Friend, but what I do say is that in our convict prisons, as well as in the other prisons in England, the best authorities that I have been able to consult concur in this, that it is necessary to have this power to resort to for the protection of our warders and the maintenance of discipline; and the right honourable Gentleman opposite, who was my predecessor in office, will agree with me in this. I would say that in this Bill it is proposed to take away from the directors of convict prisons the power of administering this punishment. In their place it is proposed that there should be a board of visitors summoned for the purpose; that to provide for cases when a prison was difficult of access by reason of its geographical position there should be power to send down a fully qualified metropolitan police magistrate to conduct the inquiry, and that everything that transpires should be reported to the Secretary of State. Well, Sir, the number of these punishments is diminishing every year, and I am confident that with the system now proposed the number would still further diminish. That there should be this power of punishment those who have had any experience of its results will not deny. In the case of a person who is going to be punished for a prison offence, it is impossible to have a public court with all the light of publicity. Corporal punishment must be safeguarded, but it was vitally essential to the preservation of prison discipline, and to hamper it by the restrictions proposed would be to put an end to corporal punishment altogether. Now, Sir, if corporal punishment is to be directly abolished, let it be done by the Vote of this House. Let us proceed gradually in that direction, confining it to the special crimes of violence which 423 we know may occur in our prisons; it is far more easy to remedy them by holding out the possibility of this form of punishment than to adopt the form of punishment adopted in other countries. I do say that, for the control of the violent criminals, of whom no one will deny there are a certain number in our own prisons, it is desirable, in the last resort, to have this power of inflicting a punishment which alone has a satisfactory effect on some of them. I press the House to support the Government in rejecting this clause, and in supporting the attempts which I have made in my Amendment to secure that the Visiting Committee or the Board of Visitors of the prison may realise the gravity of the charge which they are trying. Adequate power has been taken by the clause to secure that the corporal punishment is properly inflicted, and I am confident that there will be no abuse under the system, and that the result will be that corporal punishment will be more satisfactorily dealt with than at the present time.
§ *SIR H. FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)
I think every member of the Grand Committee on Law which considered this Bill, whatever difference of opinion there may have been amongst us on certain points, will join with me in recognising the fair manner in which the Home Secretary gave the Bill his consideration. He did not adopt the attitude which he might have been contented to adopt—namely, that he had a great majority behind him, and that he would have the Bill passed by the weight of his majority. He made a great many concessions to the proposals that were made by the Members of the Opposition, and by Members on his own side of the House, and the Bill—I think he will agree with me in the opinion—has been very materially improved in its passage through the Grand Committee, and is now a far better Bill than it was when it was introduced. Now, Sir, let me call the attention of the House to the proposal of the Home Secretary, because, in dealing with this clause now before us, I cannot avoid dealing with the alternative clause proposed in its place; in fact, we have two schemes before us for regulating corporal punishment. I should like to call the attention 424 of the House to clause 5, in which they will see there has been an enormous improvement in the law with reference to corporal punishment, which was introduced in the Bill in Committee. Under the present law the visiting magistrates, the governor, and the directors of convict prisons have practically an almost uncontrolled discretion, both as to the nature and extent of the offences which they can punish with corporal punishment.
§ *SIR H. FOWLER
There is a very narrow margin in the law, but there is a very wide margin in administration, and floggings have been inflicted for offences which, under no possible construction, can be brought within sub-section (b) of this clause. Why I am troubling the House with this is because the Home Secretary recently stated that this was entirely a question of internal discipline. It is not a question of internal discipline. It does not affect the ordinary every-day discipline of the prison at all. I have no doubt, before we close this Debate, my honourable Friend the Member for Mayo will tell the House of the sort of offences for which this punishment is given. The offences for which, under this Bill, you can administer corporal punishment now are mutiny, incitement to mutiny, or gross personal violence—not violence threatened, but violence inflicted. There has been a great deal of corporal punishment administered on account of apprehension, and not on account of bodily suffering. Now, Sir, before I pass from this I will ask the Home Secretary what difficulty is there in trying a question of mutiny, or incitement to mutiny, or gross personal violence, by a competent judicial tribunal outside the prison authorities altogether? Then, Sir, the Home Secretary tells us that the number of cases in which flogging was administered last year in convict prisons was seven. He did not tell us how many floggings were inflicted in the local prisons in England.
§ *SIR H. FOWLER
Yes, 50. I want the House to bear this in mind. Convict prisons: in the United Kingdom, floggings inflicted, seven; local prisons—there can be no flogging in either Ireland or Scotland—flogging confined to England, and you have have upwards of 50 administered. Those are the floggings with which the House may, in the first place, appropriately deal. The Home Secretary says you cannot keep up discipline without it. But how does he keep it up in Ireland and Scotland? Gentlemen below the the Gangway who come from Ireland have heard it suggested that there was something superlatively genial in the Irish race—and my honourable Friend the Member for Mayo naturally cheers that suggestion—that they are distinguished in being always so orderly, always so obedient, always so amenable to the law—which they never wish to violate—that there was no necessity to administer flogging in Ireland. I quite agree that there has evidently been no necessity to administer flogging in Ireland, and there has been no necessity to administer flogging in Scotland; but no Home Secretary has come down to this House and stated that the discipline is so defective, the terror of the warders so great, that the whole prison arrangements are upset by the want of this power in Ireland and Scotland, and that it is necessary to extend it to Ireland and Scotland. I say, if it is necessary to flog in England, it is necessary to flog in Scotland and Ireland, and if Ireland and Scotland can maintain the discipline of their local prisons without flogging I cannot see why it is necessary to apply it to England. But, Sir, the Home Secretary is right in saying that the general opinion of the Committee was not in favour of the total abolition of corporal punishment, and very much upon the ground that he has put to-day—namely, that by the reduction of the offences for which corporal punishment could be inflicted, by the guarding of the tribunal by which it can be authorised, the time would arrive when corporal punishment could be done away with altogether, and that the system which prevailed in the local prisons of Ireland and Scotland could be extended to England, and would possibly apply to convict prisons. The Amendment before us recognises that 426 the corporal punishment to be inflicted is to be inflicted for very serious offences only, and the question is, what is the mode in which this punishment is to be determined? What I dread most of all in the administration of these punishments in prison is the secrecy, the absence of public opinion—it is the absence of public knowledge of what passes in the cells of these prisons. When an excited, angry governor, with visiting justices, or a director of prisons, orders this sentence, the man who is summoned before them is helpless. He has no chance; he is an ignorant man; he is possibly very much reduced, both mentally and physically, by the treatment he has undergone. He is in dread, as all people of that class are, of further punishment being inflicted hereafter, on some future occasion, if he obtains anything like a victory; and the man cannot and does not have a fair hearing. Human nature is the same in most parts of the world, and under most conditions, and I know of no greater temptation—which history confirms—to cruelty, than the secrecy with which the cruelty can be inflicted. A man loses his temper, and, knowing that, his temper being lost, he can inflict a certain amount of suffering on another human being who has offended him—who has, perhaps, done him grievous wrong—he is tempted, under the knowledge that no one will know hereafter what he has done, to do far more than he would otherwise have done. I look far more upon this question of secrecy than upon the punishment itself, because all the checks we have on the administration of justice in this country are in the direction of publicity. Secrecy is the first thing we want to get rid of, and the next is that we want to secure is proper judicial control. Now, my honourable Friend opposite suggests that these offences should be tried by a court of summary jurisdiction; the Home Secretary suggests that it should be practically the same tribunal—the board of visitors, or the visiting committee, with power to call in, if he (the Home Secretary) thinks fit, a police magistrate or a stipendiary; and he told us that by "if he thinks fit" he meant that if no visiting justice is available then he would appoint the magistrate or stipendiary. Now, Sir, I do not like either of these tribunals; I do not like the tribunal of 427 my honourable Friend, or of the visiting justices. Then there is the Report to the Home Secretary. Well, that is a very desirable thing; but what good is it after the punishment is inflicted, after the man has been flogged? He does not say that they shall be reported to the Home Secretary before the punishment takes place. If the Home Secretary had made the proposal in that form I should have been inclined to look upon it with a great deal more favour than I do now. I said it in the Committee, and I say it now in the House, that so dissatisfied am I with these tribunals for inflicting this punishment, that I would rather accept that the decision should rest with the Home Secretary himself. I think the sworn evidence should be submitted to the Home Secretary, and he should have the responsibility of deciding upon the infliction of the punishment before it is inflicted. I would sooner have that than either of the tribunals put forward in this Bill. But I do not think there is any necessity for us to be confined to them. There are very few counties in England where there are not stipendiary police magistrates, there are very few counties where there are not recorders, there are very few counties where there are not certain elements of the judicial faculty which might be associated with the visiting justices. Those are the criticisms which I make upon the constitution of this tribunal; but, Sir, the most forcible check we can have will be publicity. I think also the Home Secretary should consent to the prisoner having legal advice allowed him, because this is a trial for very serious offences, mutiny or gross personal violence. If a man had committed these offences outside the prison he would have had the benefit of such advice, and of a jury also; he would not have had the punishment inflicted on him without a jury and a judge. If a man is sent to prison for embezzlement, and if he commits another offence outside that for which he is already submitting to punishment, why should he not have the same protection, the same guarantees, that he shall have the same trial—for incitement to mutiny, say—that he would have if he was outside the prison? No man outside the prison could have flogging administered for this offence. For gross personal violence he can- 428 not have corporal punishment inflicted upon him. There may be an extra punishment for discipline—that is the punishment of flogging. All that we on this side of the House ask for is that the punishment should not be inflicted except after a judicial investigation in public, a right which the English law gives to any man charged with an offence committed outside the prison, no matter how trivial.
§ MR. HALDANE (Haddington)
I desire to associate myself with everything that has fallen from my right honourable Friend who has just spoken, but I wish to join in the appeal to the Home Secretary on an additional ground. We had this matter discussed in the Grand Committee on Law at considerable length, and as a result certain Amendments were accepted and a number of them altered. When we came to the question of flogging there was a division in the Committee as to whether or not flogging should be abolished altogether, and the general opinion was that flogging should be reserved in certain exceptional cases of necessity. Well, then, the question arose as to whether or not the Committee should accept the clause of the honourable and learned Member for Shrewsbury. On that it was plain that the sentiment of the Committee was that there should be an open judicial inquiry. There was a Debate on the subject, and the result of that Debate was that the right honourable Gentleman the Home Secretary told the Committee that he was prepared to do what he could in order to give effect to what he saw was the obvious desire of the majority of the members of the Grand Committee. My recollection of what he said was that he accepted in principle the idea of a judicial inquiry, and I think also of an open inquiry, and that he would give effect to it in a clause of his own.
§ MR. HALDANE
The right honourable Gentleman is always fair and just, and I am sure he intends to carry our everything he said. But the House has just heard what the right honourable 429 Gentleman said to the Grand Committee, that he accepted the desire for publicity and a judicial inquiry. The Committee parted without dividing, but if we had divided we should have carried our point. The right honourable Gentleman opposite says that reflection has brought out difficulties in giving effect to what was the general view of the Grand Committee. I ask what these difficulties are. We have heard very little of them; we have hear a great lot about keeping flogging in reserve, but I do not know what the particular difficulties are. The Grand Committee certainly parted with the idea that the Home Secretary would give effect to the opinions held by the majority of that Committee, and I say that is a reason for voting for the Amendment of the honourable and learned Member for Shrewsbury. The clause, while it would improve matters, is certainly not up to the standard we agreed upon in the Grand Committee.
§ MR. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.)
The honourable Gentleman has told us that the general view of the Grand Committee was in favour of the general principle of corporal punishment. The Home Secretary has brought forward an Amendment in which he does not give publicity at all. The right honourable Gentleman tells us that he has given his best attention to the matter, and he finds, after consideration, that it is absolutely impossible to provide two safeguards upon which the Committee insisted. If that is so, I say the right honourable Gentleman is driven to the other alternative—namely, the total abolition of corporal punishment. I am not much impressed by the objection which the right honourable Gentleman has advanced, that the acceptance of the Amendment would have the effect of interfering with the discipline of prisons. I cannot think there is very much weight in that objection, for this very reason, that the right honourable Gentleman himself contemplates that the number of occasions upon which the tribunal would be called into requisition would be extremely small. He has told us that last year there were only seven cases of corporal punishment in convict prisons. That is a very satisfactory 430 number for the year. But, in the year before, instead of seven, the number was 19. Why is there this extraordinary reduction? I submit that the reason is very plain; that not only by the discussion in this House, but by the way the subject has been taken up outside the House, the governors of prisons have been less harsh. If this number of seven be maintained, then it is obvious that the occasions when this proposed machinery will be called into play will be extremely small. It is true there are local prisons, but the right honourable Gentleman did not tell us how many cases—
§ MR. PICKERSGILL
Well, 50. I was just referring to the published returns. The number as regards local prisons for the previous year was 112; that is a most remarkable reduction. Why should there be corporal punishment in local prisons in England? In Scotland and Ireland it is absolutely forbidden by law; why, therefore, should it be continued in England? At all events, I think we may draw the conclusion from these figures that with proper care the occasions upon which this machinery would be brought into play would be extremely few indeed, and therefore I am in favour of the Amendment.
§ MR. ASQUITH (Fife, E.)
We must discuss this matter upon the assumption that corporal punishment is to be retained in the special cases which are enumerated in the Bill. That being so, I must confess, for myself, my very great disappointment that the right honourable Gentleman has not been able to give fuller effect to the assurances which he gave in Grand Committee on the subject. Under this Bill corporal punishment will be confined to three specific classes of offences; but it will still be disciplinary punishment, because, as my right honourable Friend pointed out, no one of these offences, if committed outside a prison, would have awarded to it this degrading punishment. It is admitted that the oases would be very few; they have been diminishing 431 for some years, and, under this Bill they would become rarer and rarer. That being so, what is the difficulty in dealing with these offences as if they had been committed by a free man? Delay in visiting an offence with punishment is, no doubt, undesirable, but there would be no more delay, and perhaps less delay, in bringing the matter before a court of summary jurisdiction than in bringing it before the court composed of visiting justices, who could not easily be brought together. Delay in visiting an offence with punishment is undesirable no doubt, but there is no more delay in bringing the matter before a court of summary jurisdiction than in bringing it before the court composed of visiting justices, who could easily be brought together for the purpose; so much so that the right honourable Gentleman has promised to take into consideration the calling in of a stipendiary. As regards questions of delay there is no distinction whatsoever between one case and the other. There is a very great distinction between the court of visiting justices, constituted as my right honourable Friend opposite constituted them, and a court of summary jurisdiction, where the prisoner has all the powers and rights which the Summary Jurisdiction Act gives to the accused person of being represented by counsel or solicitor, and of summoning witnesses on his own behalf. Those powers are essential under English law in the administration of justice, and are even more necessary in the administration of justice by a court of summary jurisdic-
§ tion. But none of these powers would exist in this tribunal. Therefore, if it is admitted, as I think it is admitted, that a judicial inquiry, if possible, should take place in all these cases, you have to choose between a fully-equipped tribunal which would do full justice to the accused prisoner and this truncated and mutilated tribunal without the powers of a court of summary jurisdiction. One point more, and that is the question which has been so rightly urged upon the House by my right honourable Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, and that is the question of publicity. But why should a tribunal of this kind be open? It may not be convenient in many cases to remove the prisoner from the gaol, but a room in the gaol could be set apart for the purpose of the inquiry, and the representatives of the Press admitted. There is not the slightest difficulty in the way. In this way would be admitted the light of day, which public opinion increasingly demands to be brought to bear on the administration of corporal punishment. Sir, I thought it only right to lay these considerations before the House. I do not think that if I had to choose between the honourable and learned Gentleman's clause and the proposal of the Home Secretary, I should certainly vote for the former.
Motion made and Question put—
That the clause be read a second time.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 103; Noes 182.—(Division List No. 171.)435
|Allan, W. (Gateshead)||Carvill, Patrick G. H.||Hogan, James Francis|
|Allen, W. (Newc.-under-L.)||Cawley, Frederick||Holburn, J. G.|
|Allison, Robert Andrew||Channing, Francis Allston||Holden, Sir Angus|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Clough, Walter Owen||Horniman, Frederick John|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. H. H.||Colville, John||Hutton, A. E. (Morley)|
|Baker, Sir John||Courtney, Rt. Hon. L. H.||Jacoby, James Alfred|
|Bayley, T. (Derbyshire)||Daly, James||Jones, W. (Carnarvonshire)|
|Billson, Alfred||Davitt, Michael||Kearley, Hudson E.|
|Birrell, Augustine||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Kilbride, Denis|
|Bolton, Thomas D.||Dillon, John||Kinloch, Sir John G. S.|
|Brigg, John||Doogan, P. C.||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland)|
|Brunner, Sir John T.||Dunn, Sir William||Leuty, Thomas Richmond|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Flower, Ernest||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Lloyd-George, David|
|Burns, John||Gladstone, Rt. Hon. H. J.||Logan, John William|
|Burt, Thomas||Goddard, Daniel Ford||Lough, Thomas|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Hayne, Rt. Hon. C. Seale-||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes|
|Caldwell, James||Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Macaleese, Daniel|
|Cameron, R. (Durham)||Hedderwick, Thomas C. H.||MacNeill, John Gordon S.|
|McArthur, W. (Cornwall)||Reckitt, Harold James||Tennant, Harold John|
|McEwan, William||Redmond, William (Clare)||Thomas, A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|M'Ghee, Richard||Reid, Sir Robert T.||Thomas, D. A. (Merthyr)|
|Maddison, Fred.||Rickett, J. Compton||Tully, Jasper|
|Maden, John Henry||Roberts, John B. (Eifion)||Wallace, Robert (Perth)|
|Molloy, Bernard Charles||Roberts, J. H. (Denbighsh.)||Walton, J. L. (Leeds, S.)|
|Monk, Charles James||Robson, William Snowdon||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Morley, C. (Breconshire)||Roche, Hon. J. (East Kerry)||Wayman, Thomas|
|Morrell, George Herbert||Schwann, Charles E.||Wedderburn, Sir William|
|Norton, Captain Cecil W.||Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Shaw, Charles E. (Stafford)||Williams, J. C. (Notts)|
|Owen, Thomas||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Paulton, James Mellor||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarsh.)|
|Pickard, Benjamin||Smith, Samuel (Flint)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. H. D. Greene and Mr. Haldane.|
|Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Souttar, Robinson|
|Power, Patrick Joseph||Spicer, Albert|
|Price, Robert John||Sullivan, D. (Westmeath)|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F.||Dorington, Sir John E.||Knowles, Lees|
|Allhusen, Augustus H. E.||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Lawrence Sir E Durning- (Corn.)|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Drage, Geoffrey||Lawson, John G. (Yorks)|
|Arrol, Sir William||Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||Lecky, Rt. Hon. W. E. H.|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.||Lees, Sir E. (Birkenhead)|
|Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire)||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn E.||Legh, Hon. T. W. (Lancs)|
|Bagot, Captain J. FitzRoy||Fergusson, Rt Hn Sir J. (Manch.)||Llewellyn, E. H. (Somerset)|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Finch, George H.||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn- (Sw'ns'a)|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Finlay, Sir Robert B.||Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manc'r)||Fisher, William Hayes||Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverp'l)|
|Banbury, Frederick G.||FitzGerald, Sir R. Penrose-||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Flannery, Fortescue||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Fletcher, Sir Henry||Lucas-Shadwell, William|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen B.||Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk)||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Brist'l)||Fry, Lewis||Macartney, W. G. Ellison|
|Beach, W. W. B. (Hants)||Galloway, William Johnson||Maclure, Sir John William|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Garfit, William||McArthur, C. (Liverpool)|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Gedge, Sydney||McIver, Sir Lewis|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Gibbons, J. Lloyd||McKillop, James|
|Bill, Charles||Godson, Sir Augustus F.||Malcolm, Ian|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Milbank, Sir Powlett C. J.|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Milton, Viscount|
|Bowles, T. G. (King's Lynn)||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John E.||Monckton, Edward P.|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Goschen, Rt Hn. G. J. (St. Geo's)||Montagu, Hon. J. S. (Hants)|
|Brookfield, A. Montagu||Goschen, G. J. (Sussex)||Moon, Edward R. P.|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs)||Goulding, Edward Alfred||More, Robert Jasper|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)||Morgan, Hn. F. (Monm'thsh.)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, E.)||Gull, Sir Cameron||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)|
|Cecil, Lord H. (Greenwich)||Halsey, Thomas Frederick||Mount, William George|
|Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G.||Muntz, Philip A.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. R. W.||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)||Hardy, Laurence||Murray, Colonel W. (Bath)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hatch, Ernest Frederick G.||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Charrington, Spencer||Heath, James||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Heaton, John Henniker||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E.||Hickman, Sir Alfred||Plunkett, Rt. Hon. H. C.|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Hill, Rt. Hn. Lord A. (Down)||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Hill, Sir E. S. (Bristol)||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Colomb, Sir John C. R.||Hoare, E. B. (Hampstead)||Priestley, Sir W. O. (Edin.)|
|Colston, C. E. H. A.||Hoare, Samuel (Norwich)||Pryce-Jones, Edward|
|Cornwallis, Fiennes S. W.||Holland, Hon. Lionel R.||Purvis, Robert|
|Cotton-Jodrell, Col. E. T. D.||Houldsworth, Sir W. H.||Quilter, Sir Cuthbert|
|Cox, Robert||Howell, William Tudor||Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Howorth, Sir Henry Hoyle||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. T.|
|Cross, H. S. (Bolton)||Hozier, Hon. James H. C.||Robertson, H. (Hackney)|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Hutchinson, Capt. G. W. Grice-||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Curzon, Rt Hn G N (Lanc. S. W.)||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Russell, Gen. F. S. (Chelt'm)|
|Curzon, Viscount (Bucks)||Jolliffe, Hon. H. George||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Dane, Richard M.||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir J. H.||Samuel, H. S. (Limehouse)|
|Denny, Colonel||Kenyon, James||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. D.||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W.||Seely, Charles Hilton|
|Sharpe, William E. T.||Thornton, Percy M.||Williams, J. Powell (Birm.)|
|Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)||Tollemache, Henry James||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Sinclair, Louis (Romford)||Tomlinson, W. E. Murray||Wilson, J. W. (Worc'sh., N.)|
|Stanley, Lord (Lancs)||Tritton, Charles Ernest||Wodehouse, E. R. (Bath)|
|Stanley, H. M. (Lambeth)||Valentia, Viscount||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Stewart, Sir M. J. M'T.||Wallace, Robert (Edin.)||Wyndham, George|
|Stone, Sir Benjamin||Warr, Augustus Frederick||Yerburgh, Robert A.|
|Sutherland, Sir Thomas||Webster, Sir R. E. (I. of W.)|
|Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)||Wentworth, B. C. Vernon-||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Talbot, Rt Hn J. G. (Oxf'dUny.)||Whiteley, G. (Stockport)|
|Thorburn, Walter||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset)|
Page 2, after clause 5, insert the following clause—
'Where a person is undergoing a sentence for treason felony or high treason, he shall be allowed to associate, while at work and exercise, with prisoners convicted for similar offences. Such prisoner shall likewise hare the option of wearing his own dress, and shall also, while observing prison rules, be allowed to write and receive letters, and to receive a visit from relatives or friends, at least once each month while his imprisonment continues.'"—(Mr. Davitt.)
§ *MR. DAVITT (Mayo, S.)
This Amendment is substantially the same as that which I had on the Paper when the Bill was before the Grand Committee on Law, and although my Amendment was rejected by a large majority, I trust that I am justified in bringing the same question before a larger tribunal like that of this House, in the hope that it will reverse the judgment arrived at by that Committee. I trust that the very moderation of the Amendment which I ask the House now to consider will be one of its strongest recommendations to the acceptance of the House. Now, what is it that is asked for in this Amendment? Why, absolutely nothing that is contrary to the spirit of this Bill or to the rules at present obtaining in the prisons of this country. Take, for instance, the small boon of association between prisoners undergoing penal servitude for treason felony. This association of prisoners is already given to star criminals in all convict prisons; for instance, murderers, forgers, thieves, and all kinds of characters who are convicted for the first time are privileged to be associated together. Therefore I am only asking for men convicted of political crimes a privilege similar to that which is already extended to the class of criminals to whom I have already referred. What, 436 then, is the object of the Home Secretary in denying this small concession to prisoners found guilty of political offences? There can only be one answer to this question, and that answer is this: that the present law of this country is wishful to treat political foes who are Irishmen with a spirit of vindictiveness and retaliation unparalleled in any country with which I am acquainted. You are capable, as is evidenced in this Bill, of humane feelings towards the burglar, who may do violence in the profession of robbery, and this very Measure, as I have said, is evidence that you are in your general prison system not wishful to be too harsh to the common enemies of society; but when you are asked to allow a few imprisoned Irish enemies of this country, and of this country's rule in Ireland, not to undergo the refined punishment of penal servitude, it is too much for your humanity, and you demand your pound of flesh, in the form of a penal chastisement, which is without parallel in the records of any other civilised nation. Now, Sir, the next proposal of my Amendment is that political offenders may have the option of wearing their own dress while working out their sentences. Well, now, Sir, I venture to humbly suggest to the House that this is not a very extravagant demand; in fact, it is permissible in the case of imprisoned debtors, for instance, and persons convicted for seditious libel, who are not compelled, under your law, to wear your prison dress. Therefore I am not making, even in this respect, any extreme demand, or one which is out of sympathy with the law as it stands at the present time. I am only asking that prisoners who are sentenced for these offences may be exempt from wearing the badge of infamy and shame. Well, Mr. Speaker, I am very 437 reluctant to import into a discussion of this kind anything relating to my own personal experience, but I will respectfully ask the House, what good does it do to the State, or what service does it render to your law, to inflict this needless piece of mental torture upon political prisoners? Does it reform a prisoner, and is it calculated to instil loyal sentiments into his mind? I can speak from some experience upon that point, and I need not ask the House whether that experience has made me more loyal towards your rule in Ireland. I venture to say that it has not. Well, Sir, the last proposal of my Amendment is that letters and visits shall be permissible once a month, under the observance of prison rules, while a treason-felony prisoner is undergoing his sentence. Here, again, I claim nothing for this class of offence which is contrary to the powers conferred upon governors at all prisons under the present prison law. Any governor of a prison may grant a special letter or a visit to a well-conducted prisoner. No one will find fault with the giving of this discretionary power to the governors of your prisons. I think it will be admitted that the more you allow these reformative influences to operate on a prisoner by his relationship with his friends outside, the more you allow these influences to work upon a prisoner inside the walls of your gaols, the better chance you have of seeing that prisoner come out a reformed member of society. Well, I only ask that what is now left to the discretion of prison officials m dealing with ordinary criminals shall be a matter of right in the case of a political offender while he observes the general prison rules. Prejudice is more likely to influence a prison governor in the case of an Irish prisoner undergoing sentence for treason-felony than in that of a prisoner not tainted with a political crime. I may be met from the opposite side by an objection to this statement of mine that there is no such prejudice, or is likely to be, in the minds of your prison officials. But upon this point I must be allowed to give my own experience, and I will do so in this connection. I was deprived for seven years and seven months, while undergoing all the rigours 438 of penal servitude, under the present rules, of the privilege of receiving a visit from a single friend. Now, it would not have taken place had I been sent to prison for one of the ordinary crimes with which we are familiar in society. A burglar, a murderer, a thief of the commonest kind, a garrotter, a man who outrages a child, a man who commits an unnameable crime—these are not deprived of this privilege so long as they conform to the prison laws. I say, as a political prisoner, that I was denied that privilege, and that is why I ask the House to agree to this Amendment of mine, which proposes that this small privilege of receiving visits monthly from friends shall be conceded to these prisoners. In conclusion, I again say that the very moderation of these proposals in this Amendment ought to make you accept it. I am aware that, under the law of treason-felony, a prisoner convicted on trial has to undergo the terrible ordeal of penal servitude, and on that account I am limited in the scope of my Amendment. I only ask for what can be conceded in these cases on the lines of what is now actually granted to governors, who have discretionary power in the case of ordinary criminals. I trust, therefore, that my Amendment will be accepted by the House. I need not dwell, Mr. Speaker, upon the example of other countries in their treatment of political offenders. It is well known, and it has been stated in this House again and again when we were discussing this question, that this country stands absolutely alone amidst civilised nations in the vindictive character of its treatment of political prisoners. Russia is often referred to in contrast with the boasted constitutional liberties of Great Britain. Well, no matter how much you may differ with Russian government and Russian diplomacy, you will find that in the treatment of political offenders Russia is far more humane, far more forbearing, and far more considerate than you are in England. I will just give one quotation dealing with this before I sit down, and I trust that the picture which it will present to the House of how an autocracy deals with political offenders will induce this House to favourably consider this very small proposal of mine. Mr. de 439 Windt, in his impressions of a visit to Siberian prisons, tells how he found some Nihilist prisoners were treated. He says, in one instance he found—One of the ringleaders of the Yakoutzk prison mutiny in 1889. I found this man in a large, well-lighted cell, amply supplied with writing materials and with parcels of recently published books in French, German, English, and Russian. This man, who is one of the most desperate in Akatui, said to me, 'The governor is a very just and good man,' and added that 'he had nothing to complain of.' His wife lives in the village, and is permitted to see him alone once a week for an hour, or if the man is in the hospital twice a week. Khatchwrikin, a life prisoner for attempting to assassinate the Governor General of Hasan.—This man, who was in chains, being refractory, was in a large cell with three others engaged in chemical experiments and bookbinding. Slavinsky, a life prisoner, arrested in Berlin, handed over to the Russian Government for political propaganda.—This man was one of the Nihilist international 'centres,' and was implicated in nearly all the recent explosions. Slavinsky was living in a good cell, well supplied with books, a parcel of which containing some works published in 1894 arrived for him on the day I visited him, and had his own medicine chests.Well, I would like to know what would be the answer of the Home Secretary if I proposed that the few political prisoners remaining in the prisons of this country should be treated in the same way in which these Nihilist prisoners are being treated by the Government of Russia in Siberia. All I would say, in conclusion, is that I trust for the honour of your own country and your own law you will accept this very moderate proposal of mine, and place it on record that you have abandoned at least the vindictive spirit which you have pursued up to the present time with regard to your political prisoners.
§ *THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir M. W. RIDLEY,) Lancashire, Blackpool
The proposal which the honourable Member has moved is similar to the one which he moved before the Grand Committee, and I explained to him then why it was impossible for the Government to accept it. The proposal of the honourable Gentleman is that, when a man has been sentenced to penal servitude according to the law of this country for high treason, or for treason felony, there should be a discrimination made between 440 him and persons who are sent to penal servitude for other crimes.
§ *THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT
Such a discrimination does not exist in the present law.
§ *THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT
The honourable Gentleman asks that, in the case of penal-servitude prisoners, there should be a discrimination in favour of a particular class of prisoner. Now, I do not know that there is anybody in this House who is prepared to define what a political prisoner is. But, however that may be, I say that if at the present time any political prisoner is sentenced to imprisonment, and not to penal servitude, he can be adjudged to be an offender of the first, or the second, or the third class, and he can be specially treated. This Bill is not intended to alter the criminal law, and never was intended, and whatever sympathy we may have for political prisoners who have not been committed for crimes which we might call disgraceful, still, it is quite impossible in this Bill to accept a clause which would have the effect which I have described.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)
I am very much disappointed at the answer given by the Home Secretary in answer to the Amendment of my honourable Friend. Now, I think he practically admitted the main objects of this Amendment by the answer he has just given to my honourable and learned Friend opposite with regard to State criminal class, which shows that it is possible to make a discrimination between one class of prisoners and the other; and if that be possible, it will be equally possible to make a distinction between the political offender and the other offenders. The second objection of the right honourable Gentleman is, "how can you define a political offence?" Well, the definition is this: if a prisoner be 441 tried and convicted of treason-felony he is a political prisoner. What simpler answer can there be given to an objection like that? If you try him for treason you try him for a political offence, and you convict Mm of a political offence, and he is a political offender; why, the very nature of the charge which you bring against him gives the right honourable Gentleman that definitionwhich—I was almost going to say he professes is so difficult to arrive at. Look at these men who are in gaol still. They were charged with a political offence, whereas they ought to have been, tried under the Explosives Act. They were not tried under the Explosives Act, but they were tried under the Treason Felony Act, and as political offenders and not as ordinary offenders. I can scarcely restrain myself from speaking as strongly as I should wish to upon this treatment of political offenders. I believe, if it could be brought home to the knowledge and to the conscience of the people of this country how these political offenders have been treated, that there is not one of them with any humanity in his breast that would not vote in favour of the Amendment of my honourable Friend. Why, Sir, what is the history of the treatment of the Irish political offenders? I could give case after case in which the Irish political offender has not been released until his body, and until his mind were broken down, and I could give case after case in which the Irish political offender has died or has committed suicide, even a few months, or within a year or two after his release from prison. How many Members of this House have read the reports of Dr. Macdonald with regard to the Irish political offenders of 1867. Dr. Macdonald was then a medical man in one of the convict prisons in Dublin, and he examined the cases of several of the Irish political offenders who were serving penal servitude. He found over and over again traces of coming insanity in these men, and he reported these cases to the governor of the day, but his reports were disregarded, and the result was that man after man went into the lunatic asylum or committed suicide. Now, I call that a very shameful record with regard to this question. Take the case within, the knowledge of every Member of this House— 442 the case of the Whiteheads, the poor, unfortunate wretches, who were not released from prison until their minds were entirely destroyed, and they are at this moment inmates of a lunatic asylum in America. I say it is almost cruel to release men after they have got into that state. It should be set out plainly what moral and physical wrecks these men have become. Some derision was thrown upon me because of an observation I made in some remarks on this Bill. My observation was—and a similar observation was made by my honourable Friend to-night—that the treatment of political prisoners in Russia was better by far than their treatment in England. I could not help marking that some honourable Gentlemen smiled and scorned when that observation was made, but it happens to be true. I do not know how many Gentlemen on the opposite side have read the recent literature upon Russian political prisoner treatment. I have, read nearly every word of it. I read in the remarkable work, "Side-lights of Siberia," written by a getleman whom I should take to be certainly an unpicturesque Scotchman. This Scotchman was particularly a matter of fact writer. He goes into the prisons there, and he sees the political prisoners. He finds that men convicted, not merely of political crimes, but of political crimes with violence in its most extreme form, are liberally treated. One case he gave was a political crime accompanied by dynamite. In another case political crime accompanied by assassination with the dagger or pistol. He gives case after case of these men who, instead of being kept in gaol until they are physical and mental wrecks as Irish political prisoners have been, were allowed, after a certain length of time, to take small situations under Government. The writer got to one of the towns in Siberia, which, by the way, is not the terrible place which it has been described as being. One of these towns in Siberia was possessed of a museum, kept by an extremely intelligent man. This man was one of a group of Russian students, who had gone out one evening with one of their number who was suspected of being a spy. They were five when they took that walk; they were four afterwards, because the spy had been 443 assassinated. This curator was one of those who had assisted in that assassination. What happened? The present Czar of Russia, during his tour through Siberia, found himself in this very town and in this very museum, around which he had been conducted by the curator; and, after having seen everything, he warmly shook him by the hand, although he knew (he was Czarewitch at the time) that this man had been convicted of a political crime—the crime of assassination. I do not, of course, suggest that the Home Secretary should go round shaking hands with assassination. I only give this as an example of the truth of what I say, that the treatment of political prisoners by Russia is much more humane, and more benign than the treatment of our political prisoners is. I could give example after example as to that being perfectly true, and it is a curious fact that after I had made the above statement some time ago, which was so scorned and derided by some honourable Gentlemen, as a wild effort of the imagination, a Russian who happened to be a refugee over here wrote an article to the same effect in a paper published in the interests of what I may call the Russian political people living in England. But what is the difference between a Russian who has been guilty of a political offence and an Irishman? The former becomes the honoured guest in the drawing rooms of the "Leo Hunters" of the London season. They become the subject of encomiums and leading articles, even in the virtuous Times. They were the honoured speakers on some political platforms in this country. In fact, that distinction between political and ordinary crime which the ingenious Home Secretary is unable to make with regard to Irishmen is made with regard to every other political offender of every other nationality. The distinction is made, I suppose, because these political refuges who come over here conspire to fight against other dynasties, and the Irish political offender fights against English interests. I have taken up Russia as a shocking example. I will not offend and insult the people of France and the rulers of France by comparing their treatment of political offenders with the English treatment. 444 In the days of the Third Empire what took place? I am old enough to remember the diatribes which used to be written in English newspapers with regard to what took place in France then. We were represented as possessing a free Parliament to preserve the rights and liberties of the subject under the ægis of representative institutions. France had no Parliament and no independent Minister; demoralisation and corruption were rampant in the State. Even the gaiety of the boulevards was put down by these papers as proof of the rottenness that existed and must result from political corruption; and yet all the time that these diatribes were being written—all the time that the enemies of the Empire were attacking with every weapon of political warfare, and the Sovereign with every form of opprobrium; and personal calumny—the English Government were sending Irish political prisoners to gaol and to penal servitude to herd with the burglar, the murderer, and the garrotter. But how different is the treatment that France gives to political offenders. Why I sometimes almost envied the position of M. Rochefort after one of his terms of imprisonment. He had the advantage of living in Paris; he was allowed to write all his articles, though perhaps other people may not think that so great an advantage; he was able to receive his friends, and to order his meals from a restaurant; and, like most gentlemen of strong views, he had a very delicate appetite, and ordered them from the best restaurant in the neighbourhood. And all these things were taking place under that vile, tyrannical, and demoralised despotism, while at the same time we were driving Irish political offenders to the lunatic asylums. The most shameful chapter in the relations between England and Ireland is the treatment of political offenders. I have only one objection to make to the Amendment of my honourable Friend; it does not go half far enough. What does it ask? That these political prisoners should be freed from association with the burglar, the murderer, and the garrotter; that they should be allowed to communicate with their friends a certain limited number of times. This present prevention and interruption of communication between 445 even an ordinary prisoner and his friends and his relatives is a great blot on our prison system, but what is to be said of it when it is applied to the political offender? I should like every Member to read these letters which have recently been published relating those terrible facts concerning prison life which so startled us—letters which should be read altogether apart from any consideration of the character of the person who wrote them. But I commend this one statement to the attention of every reasonable and humane man, that the very best protection against that demoralisation, that brutalising, that hardening which takes place in so many prisoners is that healthy communication between the prisoner in the solitude of his cell and his wife and children and relatives, who still cling to him in his hour of degradation and punishment. I say that every one of these prisoners should be allowed to communicate with his relatives freely and frequently. But if that is so in the case of the ordinary offender, still more should it be the case with regard to the political offender, who, in frequent cases, has got into prison not by the smallness but by the greatness of his life.
§ MR. FLOWER
I hope that the House will not, in considering this question, be influenced by the fact that at the present time all these prisoners who are undergoing sentences for treason-felony come from Ireland. This is not a political question. To my mind, it is a question of far higher importance than that. It is a question which goes to the root of the whole prison system. The honourable Gentleman the Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool has stated with absolute accuracy the fact that in no country in Europe are political prisoners treated with the same severity as they are in this country. That, of course, is not only so as regards political prisoners, because anyone who has taken the trouble to ascertain the real facts knows perfectly well that, as regards ordinary prisoners, our system is the most severe in the world. That severity to ordinary prisoners must be defended, if it can be defended at all, upon one of two grounds. That it is reformatory or that it is deterrent. But 446 you cannot apply either of those two reasons in defence of the severities inflicted upon treason-felony prisoners. You do not convert a man from his political ways by bringing to bear upon him the severities of prison discipline; nor do you prevent others from following that man's lead in political thought by dangling before them the martyr's crown. It is not in that way that converts are made. It is upon these grounds that I sincerely hope that now, or in the near future, a more humane, a more enlightened system will prevail in this country with regard to the treatment of political offenders, and that those who, from a mistaken love of an idea, through love of their country, have been driven into the commission of crime will not be forced to endure the humiliations, disgraces, and degradations which are, of course, with perfect propriety the fate of those who wantonly and deliberately, for their own personal ends, for the gratification of their lust, or for the enjoyment of some game of chance, make a breach of the laws. The honourable Member for the Scotland Division referred to the advantage that would accrue to prisoners if the Amendment were carried, and they were allowed restricted communication by means of letters with their friends and relatives. That argument, of course, would apply to all prisoners, but surely it applies with special force, and with added argument, to the case of those prisoners who have all their lives been accustomed to intellectual intercourse, and who naturally feel the severities of its total deprivation. This Amendment will not be carried, but if it is forced to a Division, I, holding the strong views I do on the subject, believing, as I do, that, instead of being behind other nations in these matters, Great Britain ought to lead the way, will support it.
§ MR. W. REDMOND
The speech which the honourable Gentleman has just delivered will, I am sure, be received with great appreciation and gratitude by Irish Members on this side of the House. It is extremely encouraging and gratifying to find a Gentleman on the other side of the House who not only holds 447 those views, but has the courage to express them in the way that the honourable Gentleman has done. I desire to say, in supporting this Amendment, that, in the interests of the Government, and those who desire to turn people from committing crimes or practices which may bring them to prison, this Amendment ought to be adopted. After all, what is the great punishment of imprisonment? It is the deprivation of liberty which every prisoner must feel as his greatest punishment; and as long as you deprive them of liberty, and cut them off from the outside world, you have inflicted the most deterrent punishment that it is possible, in my opinion, to inflict. But when, in addition to depriving them of their liberty, you insist upon having small marks of degradation placed upon them, you do not deter, you simply irritate. By way of illustration, I may just briefly tell the House what took place in my own case, although not a treason-felony prisoner, as the phrase goes. I was sentenced to be imprisoned for three months. My punishment was, of course, the deprivation of my liberty for three months. It was not alleged that I had committed any ordinary crime. It was not a political crime in the sense in which treason-felony prisoners are convicted of crime. It was an offence, so called, arising out of public agitation in the country. What I felt most was, of course, the three months' deprivation of my liberty; but, in addition to that, which was really a considerable punishment in its way to me at the time, all sorts of small attempts to degrade me were made—such attempts as could not be made if the Amendment of the honourable Member for Mayo was carried. I will give one instance—I was not allowed to exercise by myself. Why should not a treason-felony prisoner be allowed to take exercise by himself? I think that is a perfectly reasonable request. When I was in prison there were others there who had been convicted in the same way as myself, and of the same offence, but it was insisted that I should exercise and associate with all the ordinary prisoners in gaol—men convicted of robbery, and of every kind of disgraceful proceeding. That was not a matter which I felt by way of severe punish- 448 ment, but I do think it was an extremely degrading position to put a person of my standing—a representative of the people—in, and I refused to do so, with the result that I had three days' bread and water and solitary confinement; and I think, if the honourable Gentlemen opposite had the same punishment for the same offence they might be of the same opinion as myself. But is it contended that the attempt to impose these degrading things upon me had the slightest influence of a deterrent character? Certainly not. In the same way with regard to their prison dress; does any person imagine that treason-felony prisoners, or persons convicted of the ordinary offences under the Coercion Act, are rendered more likely to avoid the occurrences which led to the imprisonment by being forced to give up their own clothes and arraying themselves in a more or less uncleanly character some time in the past. To treat a man convicted of treason-felony, or imprisoned for public agitation, in the same way as those who have been convicted of an ordinary crime, is to defeat the very object which we must suppose the Government has in view, and instead of being an additional punishment, it is really a source of additional irritation by degrading a man—it simply increases whatever feeling he may have against the Government of the day. The Home Secretary, in the speech which he made in reply to the honourable Member for Mayo, did not speak as if he felt that he himself was quite convinced upon this point, and I think, if the truth were known, there are other Members of this House who are prepared to say that for treason-felony prisoners the punishment of imprisonment is quite sufficient in itself, without the addition of all these irritating small attempts to degrade people so convicted. The right honourable Gentleman the Home Secretary said that he did not know practically what a political prisoner is. The honourable Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool answered that by pointing, as the Amendment itself does, to those prisoners who have been convicted under an Act specially passed by this House to deal with political offences, and with men engaged in insurrectionary or revolu- 449 tionary movements in Ireland. I think the Amendment is a most reasonable one, and I am quite convinced that if they only had the courage to say so there are many Members on the opposite side of the House who hold the same views as the honourable Member for Bradford, and who would like to see this Amendment carried by a large majority. To deprive prisoners of the right to receive, at the very long interval of one month, visits from their friends, and of the right of receiving letters, is merely adding cruelty to the punishment of imprisonment, and I for one heartily support this Amendment because I have suffered these degradations in prison in a small way, and I hope that the honourable Member for Mayo will go to a division to show that at least there are a certain proportion of Members of this House who, while they feel that prisoners, political or otherwise, ought to be punished, are not, as Englishmen, anxious to add to the ordinary severe punishment of imprisonment these attempts to degrade men and make them lose their self-respect, which will have no good effect either upon the men themselves or upon those who imprison them.
§ *MR. BURNS (Battersea)
I shall certainly support the Amendment moved by my honourable Friend the Member for Mayo, not because it is more modest or less extreme than the one he moved in the Grand Committee on Law, but because this Amendment only asks for what I think should be given, and is an Amendment upon which we have many witnesses in this Blue Book, testifying in favour of when they gave their evidence before the Prisons Commission. On page 622 of this Report, I find, with regard to classification and association, that there are a number of witnesses who speak in favour of that for ordinary criminals. Now, it seems to me that any attempt to differentiate between treason-felony prisoners and ordinary prisoners in the matter of association or of letters, or of any other means of communicating with their friends, is an invidious distinction to the detriment of treason-felony prisoners which this House ought not to sanction. What does my honourable Friend ask for in his Amend- 450 ment? That prisoners convicted of treason-felony, people who are political prisoners, should be permitted certain small privileges, and in paragraph 53 of this Prison Com mission Report they recognise association being extended and given where it is not already conceded to every phase of crime excepting that of treason-felony. If the Home Secretary can accept that Report and not this Amendment then he has got a harder heart than I credit him with possessing. He will possibly say that he cannot apply to treason-felony what the law does not give prisoners convicted of that offence. But he has already told the House that there has been a considerable latitude of discretion exercised by governors of prisons towards treason-felony prisoners in some directions. If he could extend the law in this respect, he certainly ought not to miss the opportunity now being afforded him by this Amendment of enabling that exercise of discretion being extended to governors who have treason-felony prisoners under their control, so that the thing may be put on a legal basis. I cannot see why, if association is necessary for the burglar the garrotter, and the murderer, the brute, the wife-beater, and others, why treason-felony prisoners, if there are sufficient of them, should not be able to associate with each other, or prisoners of a non-criminal grade. The type of treason-felony prisoner is, as a rule, much less criminal than the average prisoner in a convict establishment. Now, as to the treason-felony prisoner being allowed to wear his own dress, I do not attach the same importance to that as some Members do; but if the debtor who deliberately gets into debt, and who deliberately evades payment of that debt, is allowed to wear his own dress, I do not see why that privilege should not be enjoyed by the men who for conscientious reasons and for political reasons have got into prison. Then, with reference to the receipt of letters. I cannot see why a treason-felony prisoner should be cut off from the rest of the world. The description given by my honourable Friend of his brutal detention, where for seven years and seven months he was unable to have any intercourse with the outside world, is a type of treatment that I do not think exists 451 in any other country in the world. It certainly is not the practice in Denver, America, because when I was there going through the prison, I found that association was carried to this extent—that all prisoners mixed up indiscriminately with each other, and the effect of that association was that it deterred men from committing crime. The thing must be judged by its results. The fact is that in Denver prison, where the men elect their own judge to impose small sentences for breach of prison privilges, there are much less recidivists than under our brutal administration of prisons in England. Just as I was going out of this prison, one of the prisoners asked me whether, as a special favour, I would like to read the last copy of the Times which he had in his possession, and which I had not seen. I asked the governor of the gaol what the effect of the free receipt of letters and the frequent visits of friends and relations had upon the prisoners. He said, the effect was that the more a prisoner was allowed to see good friends the more anxious he was to be outside to again be with that friend; the more letters—supervised, of course, by the governor—that he was able to send and receive the better the effects it had upon him from a disciplinary point of view, whilst the association with the other prisoners had a beneficial effect. That is the experience in America; it is the experience in Australia; it is the experience in France and Germany; and, within certain limits, it is the experience of nearly every Continental system. If that is so, I do not see why treason-felony prisoners—who, as a rule, are men of a delicate and sensitive frame of mind, more susceptible than the ordinary prisoner to degradations—should be denied the treatment that the Home Secretary is prepared to give the burglar or the murderer. To a treason-felony prisoner, deprivation of liberty is perhaps the greatest punishment, and as the Prison Commission recommend segregation, classification, and association for ordinary criminals, I cannot see any reason why my honourable Friend's Amendment should not be carried, and I do persuade him to take this to a Division so that governors of prisons shall be able to see what view a section of the House of Commons takes on this subject, and so that in 452 the changes of the law with regard to the treatment of treason-felony prisoners that may take place the judges who affect those changes and administer the law will see that the House of Commons is not altogether of a stereotype brutalised view that is too often expressed by prison officials that the best way to treat the treason-felony prisoner is to still further brutalise him, to degrade him below the level of the worst criminals, and to treat him worse than any other men within prison jurisdiction.
§ On the return of Mr. SPEAKER, after the usual interval,
§ CAPTAIN NORTON (Newington, W.)
said: I desire to say a very few words in reference to the Amendment which is under discussion. If I have any complaint to find with the Amendment at all it is this, that it does not go far enough. The Amendment not only asks for nothing but what is well within the spirit and intention of the Bill, but also for nothing but what is well within the spirit of the obligation of discipline in prison. In reference to the question of treason-felony or high treason, as a rule men who are imprisoned for these particular crimes—if crimes they can be called—I think it will be admitted, are men who are not incited in the smallest degree by any selfish motive. I will even go so far as to say that in many cases they are actuated by noble motives, inasmuch as they desire to alter in some shape or another the government under which they live, in the firm belief that that government is not the best form of government for their country, or is not a government which brings to the inhabitants of that country the greatest measure of happiness. That men of that belief should be forced to live side by side with men who are guilty in the majority of cases of not only selfish crimes, but crimes very often of the lowest and most repugnant type, is not calculated to raise these men in the social scale, nor is it calculated to make them better disposed towards the government of their country, or better citizens of that country when they emerge from prison. As a rule these men are what I would call men of a high class. They may be misguided men with vivid imaginations, but 453 no one will impute to them motives of a low character. I may claim to have had experience of the treatment of prisoners in almost every country in the world, with the exception of Portugal—an experience which more especially applies to Russia—and I will venture to say that political prisoners in those countries, with the exception of Spain, are treated more humanely and, if I may say so, with more common sense than they are in England. I hope it will not be thought that I am saying what I am about to say because I am a native of Ireland myself. But I am afraid that there is a prejudice against political prisoners in this country simply because the prisoners are in nine cases out of ten Irishmen. That ought not to be so. I think it must be admitted that almost all our political prisoners are Irishmen. That they have been actuated by misguided motives we admit, but because they are Irishmen they should not be treated with less consideration than Englishmen.
§ CAPTAIN NORTON
I think we have had conclusive evidence that the majority of our political prisoners are treated worse than those of any other country. I do not say that because I am an Irishman, but it gives rise to a suspicion in the minds of men that that treatment is because they are Irishmen, and in such a country as this that should not be so. In regard to the option of wearing their own dress, personally I attach comparatively little importance to that, but as to the question of receiving letters, and more especially as to the question of receiving visits from relatives and friends, to these considerations I do attach the very greatest importance. After all, what is the object of imprisonment? I take it that the object of imprisonment, in the first instance, is to remove the offending individual from the remainder of the community—to isolate him in order that he may not do any further material damage, and that he may not contaminate society around him. I assume that it will be admitted, at any rate as regards our prisons, that another object we have in view is the reformation of the prisoners—at least, it should be so—so that when 454 these prisoners return to society they may have become improved by their sojourn in prison. But if you do everything you possibly can to degrade a man, who, as a political offender, is a man of a far higher type than the average prisoner—if you bring him down to the level of the murderer, the burglar, and the garrotter—you immediately defeat your own object, and fail to perform one of the duties for which your prisons were instituted. I have a very vivid recollection in 1860 of being taken to a French prison for the purpose of assisting a countryman of mine, of excellent position, who had unfortunately been interned in one of the French prisons. It was the custom then to allow all the prisoners who were well conducted to see their friends, their family, and their relatives once a week. The scenes there were heartrending, and the result of these visits, and of bringing the prisoners into contact with their own families and children, I venture to assert, must necessarily have had the very best effect upon the prisoners. I recollect reading a very well-known French work, where a prisoner is represented as having, in a weak moment, committed a murder. He was a man of very good character, and after spending a certain time in penal servitude, he happened to escape. After living for several years in a comparatively remote and out-of-the-way part of the country, his feelings were so strong that he actually risked his liberty, as it afterwards proved, in order that he might once more set eyes upon his children. If you wish to bring in the question of reformation, you defeat your own object in preventing a man from coming into contact with his family and friends. The oftener you bring a man into contact with this healthful influence—for it must be that—the more certain you will be to reform that man to some extent in the future. I shall certainly support this Amendment. I consider it, as I stated when I began my remarks, as containing nothing that the Home Secretary cannot readily grant. I consider that there is nothing in it which runs contrary to the principle of the Bill or of prison discipline, and I hope that the Home Secretary will, at any rate, give us some concession in the direction indicated by this Amendment.
§ MR. TULLY (Leitrim, S.)
I wish to support the Amendment of the honourable Member for Mayo. It has been denied by gentlemen on the other side of the House that the treason-felony laws were made for Irishmen especially. I think, if those gentlemen had inquired more closely into the causes for all the brutalising methods of imprisonment which are practised on prisoners convicted of treason-felony, they would see that these laws were made for Irishmen and Irishmen only. The Treason-Felony Act, under which men can be sent to prison for treason-felony, was passed to meet a special case. It was rushed through this House in a few hours to meet the case of Mr. John Mitchell, a distinguished journalist in Ireland. By that Act that distinguished man was reduced to the level of an ordinary criminal. I think the mere fact that you treat men who are convicted of treason-felony in Ireland in the same brutal way as you treat the ordinary criminal, convicted, perhaps, for the vilest offences, is a condition of things that proves that you can only rule Ireland by force. These treason-felony provisions dealing with persons convicted of treason-felony apply to no one excepting Irishmen. You have had no one convicted for treason-felony—at all events, for the last century—excepting Irishmen, and these brutalising provisions are made solely for Ireland, and solely for Irishmen. The honourable and gallant Gentleman has referred to the distinction that exists between the ordinary class of criminal and the treason-felony prisoner. An ordinary criminal commits crime for some selfish motive of his own—to satisfy his greed, to satisfy some vile animal passion; but the treason-felony prisoner does not act in order to satisfy any personal or selfish wish, he is generally incited by the idea that he wishes to change his form of government. He rises in revolt against the Government, and embarks in a movement, and you place this man, who fights for an idea, on exactly the same level as the criminal who acts for some selfish motive. I do not think that, from the English point of view, your method of dealing with these people has been very successful. The man who participates in an insurrectionary movement will not do so because he thinks that if he gets to prison he will get the benefit 456 of the privileges we are asking you to confer upon him by this Amendment. He goes into that insurrectionary movement knowing that he is risking more than his liberty, he is risking his life. Now, Sir, I think it is a blot on your system of government in this country that you should insist on putting into your Bills and Acts of Parliament these provisions for the brutalising and degrading treatment of political prisoners, because, while these provisions will not deter men from entering into revolutionary movements, they disgrace your administration of prison life in this country. We know very well that, although you insert these provisions today, political prisoners will be treated differently from other persons; we know that, if there were an insurrection in Ireland to-morrow, so far from the persons captured during that insurrection getting the benefit of any concessions, you would treat those prisoners as you treated Mr. Mitchell—you would treat them as felons convicted of the lowest crimes. On these grounds I intend to support the Amendment of the honourable Member for Mayo, and I think the Government would be well advised if they would accept that Amendment. The English people may be no better than other nations, but they make a point of pretending to be much better, and, if they were to act up to that character they would accept this Amendment, and would at least put on the Statute Book the fact that it is their intention to treat their political prisoners in the future as well as they are treated by other nations. I do trust that the Government will see their way to accept either this Amendment or some one similar to it.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
The Home Secretary, in reply to my honourable Friend for South Mayo, said that what this Amendment asked the Government to do was to alter the criminal law of the country, instead of merely introducing a change into the treatment of treason-felony prisoners. I do not think I ever listened to a lamer excuse for not accepting an Amendment than that put forward by the Home Secretary in those words. If we turn to clause 6 of the present Bill, what do we find? This sixth clause, I may say, was one which 457 was rather fully discussed in the Grand Committee upstairs. There is in that clause a proposal to change very much for the worse the treatment of debtors. I may as well say that, when we come to that clause, I shall oppose that provision of it to the fullest extent in my power. Now, what are we to say to a Government which finds it impossible to accept this extremely modest Amendment, which, if it errs at all in any direction, errs in the direction of being too moderate—an Amendment, having for its object the bettering of the treatment of political offenders in this country, and in the same Bill proposes to change very much for the worse the treatment of debtors? I think that is a complete answer to the statement of the Home Secretary. The right honourable Gentleman also professed to find a difficulty in obtaining a definition of the words "political offender," and he challenged us—and it is a challenge which has been repeatedly made in this House during the discussion of Irish affairs—to give a definition of the words "political offender." But there is nothing in the world easier. There can be no doubt or ambiguity about the words. A man convicted of treason-felony is a political offender; and there is no possibility of argument or doubt upon the question. A man convicted of treason or sedition is a political offender. No matter what his act may be, if the Crown, with whom rests the decision as to what shape his formal indictment shall take, decides to prosecute under the Treason-Felony Act, or to prosecute for high treason or sedition, then the Government themselves, by so doing, declare that the accused is a political offender, and there is no possibility of doubt or ambiguity in this respect. What we are asking is that certain extremely slight privileges shall be given to the class of political offenders in this country, and that they shall be recognised as a different class from the ordinary criminal. It has been pointed out that this country stands alone amongst the civilised nations in its treatment of political offenders, and no man speaking from the Government side of the House has attempted to contradict that statement, and for this reason, because it cannot be contradicted. This is the only country in the civilised world to-day 458 which places the political offender in the same category as the ordinary felon. All that we seek by this Amendment is that the principle shall be recognised in the prison treatment of this country, that men who are convicted—by the admission of the Crown—of political offences shall be treated as a separate class, and placed in a different category of persons to those convicted of ordinary crimes. In the course of the discussions in this House, some of us on these benches were astounded to hear the Secretary of State for the Colonies [Mr. Chamberlain] declare that there was a common bond of union between the Anglo-Saxon race. He was alluding there to the Anglo-Saxon race in this country and the United States of America, and that common bond was that the Anglo-Saxon race looked at questions of humanity from a totally different standpoint to those of other civilised nations in Europe. A more extraordinary or extravagant statement was never made in my hearings; that is, in the sense in which the Secretary for the Colonies made it. If he meant by that statement that the Anglo-Saxon race here in Great Britain did in this matter of the treatment of political prisoners differ for the worse from all civilised people, then I heartily endorse his sentiments. But it is no bond of unity between the Anglo-Saxon people and the people of the United States of America, because the people of the United States of America are distinguished above all other nations by their treatment of their political prisoners. There has never been a nation which has set so extraordinary an example of humanity and forbearance as America has in its treatment of political prisoners, and though—after a hundred years—it has during the last few months become the fashion to sound the praises of the great republic of the west, I wish that those who do that would endeavour to imitate this great republic in its treatment of political prisoners. Russia and France have been spoken of as treating their political prisoners in a very different way from the way in which they are treated in this country, but even France and Russia treat their political prisoners much more severely than the people of the United States. There is nothing in 459 the whole history of civilised mankind which can parallel or approach the action of the United States of America when, after that tremendous civil war or rebellion, which nearly tore the United States asunder and destroyed the solidarity of their union, no man was executed, and, after a period of three years, I do not think a single individual was left in a gaol. When we compare that with the history of European nations, and, above all, with the history of this nation, where, after merely small and insignificant insurrectionary movements have taken place, long years have rolled by, and after men have been driven to their graves, or to the lunatic asylum, or to suicide, still this country refuses to grasp the fact that political offenders—people engaged in these insurrectionary movements—are, and should be, placed on a totally different basis to that of ordinary felons. When we remember that these people are treated with the utmost brutality and cruelty, we cannot help contrasting that treatment with what we know has happened to political prisoners in America. There is no bond of sympathy in this matter between the Anglo-Saxon people of this country and the people of the United States, because the people of this country are centuries behind the people of the United States in their treatment of prisoners, both ordinary and political. What we want in this Amendment is something extremely practical. We are asking for an alteration in the Treason-Felony Act. We would simply be getting what has often been granted—the removal from the Statute Book of what has been a blot and a disgrace to the Government of this country. I refer to that Act because the avowed object of it, as stated in the Debate in this House by the Ministers who introduced it, was to teach the Irish rebels that they would be degraded in prison like ordinary criminals. That was the avowed object of the Act, and it was an object unworthy of any civilised Government. The fact that it was introduced with the avowed object of degrading the prisoners is one of the strongest reasons for demanding that that policy should be departed from. It is idle to tell me that it is outside the scope of the powers of this House 460 to introduce an alteration in the treatment of political prisoners because they have been sentenced to penal servitude. The whole object of the introduction of this Measure is to ameliorate and change the condition of prisoners of all classes in the gaols. We have in the sixth clause of the Act a totally new classification of the prisoners, and there is no force whatever in the statement that it is not within the scope of the Act, or inconsistent with the general framework of the Act, to introduce an alteration in the classification of the treatment of prisoners. Let me turn, in justification for this demand, from the English point of view. Why do we claim that the treatment of all prisoners sentenced for political offences should be different from that of ordinary criminals? We claim it because as a rule—I might almost say universally—the motive which has actuated those prisoners is totally different from the motive which actuates ordinary prisoners. While it is reasonable and necessary for the safety of the State to deprive the latter of their liberty, I say it is an outrage on all the principles of modern civilisation to contend that you do feel bound in the interests of the State to treat political prisoners in the same manner as you treat the ordinary degraded criminal. In the treatment of criminals you are bound to have some consideration for the motives by which they are inspired. The real point which has been alluded to in the course of this Debate, and which has struck me over and over again, is this: in regard to Irish political offences we have listened to diatribes and eloquent speeches on both sides of the House as to the impossibility of giving any consideration to men who are suspected of being associated with dynamite. I have always been an opponent of dynamite used as a weapon against society. But what has struck us Irish sometimes with extraordinary force is the fact that the British Anglo-Saxon—if you like so to describe him—does not condemn dynamite when used against Russia or other foreign Powers. I have known men who were suspected to be in sympathy with the use of dynamite as a method of political warfare received in London society, in London drawing-rooms, as 461 distinguished members of society. The only difference was that they did use these weapons—weapons I would not use—against a Czar of Russia or an Emperor of France, or any other potentate of Europe, and not against the Anglo-Saxon people. That is a peculiar characteristic of the people of this country. In that respect I think the people of this country are far behind the Russian, French, and other nations. We have the unanswerable testimony from travellers in Russia that the Russian authorities—who, of course, are constantly obliged to deal with political criminals—look at the motives of the men who have been taken red-handed in wholesale association with the use of dynamite. They have been treated over and over again with consideration because of the motive for the crime which animated them. We have evidence that there is more humanity and more generosity meted out to the enemies of the State in these countries by these autocratic Towers than there is in England. No doubt in England the prisoner may have a greater advantage at his trial; but I am not now talking about the trial, I am talking about the treatment of the prisoner who has been condemned. In that respect, the treatment of certain prisoners in this country compares unfavourably with the treatment of prisoners in other countries which I have heard or read about. In all matters concerning the treatment of prisoners, their fair trial, and the leniency or the severity of the punishment, the history of the nineteenth century has been a history of progress. Yet I say that in this one particular case of the treatment of political prisoners the history of England in the nineteenth century shows that there has been retrogression. You treat them worse than you did in the days of the Georges. Let any man read of the lives of men who lived in the early part of this century—of men like Leigh Hunt and others who committed political offences—and he will find that in the days before the Reform Bill political prisoners were better treated than they are to-day. The system against which we protest is the treatment of political prisoners as common felons. I 462 do not believe anything of the kind was ever heard of or dreamt of until after the passing of the Treason-Felony Act of 1848, for the special purpose of taking vengeance on the Irish political prisoners. Up to that date I do not believe that the system of treating political prisoners as common felons was ever heard of or dreamt of. So there is this further argument, that in this one particular alone you have gone back in this country; you are treating your political prisoners worse than you treated them in the first half of the nineteenth century, or in the eighteenth century, or in any period before, until we get into the days of Queen Elizabeth, when you put them into pots and boiled them. I confess I attach great importance to the Amendment, not because the privileges which are asked for are really of much value, but because if it were passed it would be a recognition of the fact that political prisoners would belong to a different class, that they would not herd with common criminals. Once you recognise that fact, the public opinion of this country would revolt against the system. I press upon the House the great importance of this Amendment. The privileges asked are trifling in the extreme. They are privileges so slight that they are almost within the discretion of the prison governors under the law as it stands. If with this law of prison treatment the principle is introduced that political prisoners are a class apart, then I say the beginning will be made for other reforms. Before I sit down I will say one word about a matter that has been alluded to before. We have had on a recent occasion, owing to very extraordinary circumstances, an opportunity of testing the fact of the treatment of English political prisoners. No one can deny that the offences in Johannesburg, from the political point of view, were far worse than the offences of men who have been sentenced for treason-felony here. They were put into gaol in Johannesburg, and the House of Commons will remember the excitement into which this country was thrown. Questions were asked in the House of Commons, and the greatest possible anxiety was expressed as to the treatment of those men. Now we know 463 perfectly well that the treatment of the Johannesburg prisoners was indescribably more lenient than the treatment even of untried prisoners in the gaols of Ireland. Every night, while they were in gaol in Johannesburg, questions were asked in this House. I remember one night a question was asked as to whether the men were shut up in a close and unwholesome gaol, and the Colonial Secretary replied that they were allowed out two hours every day for exercise, accompanied by police officers. I remember hundreds of prisoners in Ireland who were untried, who were shut up—as I have been myself—and who were locked up for 22 hours a day in a close and miserable cell, without any provision for getting outside to get any decent exercise; and I cannot help contrasting the two cases. Take the case of the Johannesburg men who were brought over here and sent to prison. These were the first prisoners here in a political sense since the days of George the Fourth.
§ MR. DILLON
Very well, these were the first Englishmen for the last 50 years imprisoned in an English gaol for a political crime. They were not lying in gaol for 12 hours before a petition was brought before this House praying that they should be treated as first-class misdemeanants. They were not sent to the ordinary prisons as upwards of 2,000 Irish prisoners were sent during the last 10 years. A petition was sent round this House, and I was one of the first to sign it, so that these men should be treated as they ought to be treated—with some consideration, because their crime was political. I and the honourable Member for South Mayo were among the first to sign that petition; and in 24 hours the decision of the judge was reversed, and by the action of the Home Office those gentlemen were treated as first-class misdemeanants. They were allowed to wear their own clothes, to get first-class food, and to see their friends—which was perfectly proper. Now, Sir, can you wonder that we Irishmen, feel bitter over this matter? Those gentlemen offended against the law in 464 the most grave and flagrant manner, and they were convicted by an English jury and sentenced by an English judge; and instantly the whole influence of the House of Commons is brought to bear so that they might get proper treatment and be distinguished from ordinary prisoners. Upwards of 5,000 Irishmen have passed through the gaols in Ireland for whom there was 10,000 times more excuse than there was for Jameson or Rhodes. You never petitioned for their improved treatment; you treated our appeals with contempt and scorn, you gloated over their sufferings; and I challenge any Englishman to contradict me when I say that these men in Ireland had a better right to be treated as first-class, misdemeanants than the others I have alluded to. They had a better right to favourable treatment from the moral point of view than Jameson or Rhodes and his friends, and yet no voice was heard on their behalf in this House. I say that that shows a great lack of generosity on the part of the British Government. If Jameson had been an Irishman—oh! I believe he is an Irishman—
§ MR. DILLON
If he had been an Irishman, and his offence had been committed against this Government, do you imagine for a moment that any petition would have been got up? No, it would not. His offence was against another Government, and because that offence was supposed to be to your interest, your compassion was aroused on his behalf when he was in gaol. I admit that he and the others were perfectly entitled to a mitigation of the prison treatment. We refrained from making any comments on the action of Jameson and Rhodes, but we remember the answer we got when we asked for better treatment for Irish political prisoners. As I said, there is an extraordinary difference between the way in which an Englishman looks at a political offence when it is committed against another country and the way in which he looks at it when it is committed against himself. This is a great Empire, and this is a strong Government, and Englishmen have very 465 many good qualities individually; but I must say that I do think, without wishing to offer any unnecessary offence, that this is the most ungenerous Government to its political opponents that the world has ever seen. When other Governments put down an insurrection—such as in Russia and France—there the rule is an amnesty when the period of peace and prosperity ensues. But that is not the ease in this country; it is the last thought that comes into the mind of the English Government. When the danger has passed away, and when they are, as it were, wallowing in prosperity, peace and security, they never think of an amnesty; a cruel spirit takes possession
§ of their hearts, and their one idea is to prosecute to the bitter end their political opponents whom they had got into their power. That is unworthy of a great Empire; it is a blot upon the Government of this country. I think the Home Secretary will be well advised at the eleventh hour in taking some step in favour of the more enlightened treatment of political prisoners.
Motion made, and Question put—
That the clause be read a second time.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 62; Noes 128.—(Division List No. 172.)467
|Abraham, W. (Rhondda)||Hogan, James Francis||Provand, Andrew D.|
|Allan, W. (Gateshead)||Holburn, J. G.||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Baker, Sir John||Horniman, Frederick John||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Hutton, A. E. (Morley)||Roberts, John B. (Eifion)|
|Bayley, T. (Derbyshire)||Jones, W. (Carnarvonshire)||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Billson, Alfred||Kilbride, Denis||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Brigg, John||Langley, Batty||Steadman, William Charles|
|Burns, John||Leuty, Thomas Richmond||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Burt, Thomas||Macaleese, Daniel||Thomas, A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Caldwell, James||MacNeill, John Gordon S.||Thomas, D. A. (Merthyr)|
|Cameron, R. (Durham)||M'Ghee, Richard||Tully, Jasper|
|Clough, Walter Owen||McLaren, Charles Benjamin||Wallace, R. (Edinburgh)|
|Daly, James||Maddison, Fred.||Wallace, Robert (Perth)|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Maden, John Henry||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Dillon, John||Milton, Viscount||Warner, Thomas C. T.|
|Doogan, P. C.||Molloy, Bernard Charles||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Duckworth, James||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Williams, John C. (Notts)|
|Dunn, Sir William||O'Connor, A. (Donegal)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Flower, Ernest||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Paulton, James Mellor||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Davitt and Captain Norton.|
|Hamond, Sir C. (Newcastle)||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Allen, W. (Newc.-under-L.)||Charrington, Spencer||Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry|
|Allhusen, Augustus H. E.||Clare, Octavius Leigh||Galloway, William Johnson|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Coghill, Douglas Harry||Garfit, William|
|Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire)||Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Gedge, Sydney|
|Bagot, Captain J. FitzRoy||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Gibbons, J. Lloyd|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Colston, C. E. H, Athole||Goldsworthy, Major-General|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Cook, F. Lucas (Lambeth)||Gordon, Hon. John Edward|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Cornwallis, Fiennes S. W.||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John E.|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Brist'l)||Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Goschen, G. J. (Sussex)|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Curzon, Viscount (Bucks)||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Denny, Colonel||Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Greene, H. D. (Shrewsbury)|
|Brookfield, A. Montagu||Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G.|
|Bullard, Sir Harry||Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir W. H.||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. R. W.|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs)||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn E.||Henderson, Alexander|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, E.)||Finlay, Sir Robert B.||Hill, Rt. Hn. Lord A. (Down)|
|Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.||Fisher, William Hayes||Hill, Sir E. S. (Bristol)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)||Flannery, Fortescue||Hoare, E. B. (Hampstead)|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)||Fletcher, Sir Henry||Howell, William Tudor|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Forwood, Rt. Hon. Sir A. B.||Johnston, William (Belfast)|
|Johnstone, J. H. (Sussex)||More, Robert Jasper||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Kemp, George||Morrell, George Herbert||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir J. H.||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)||Stanley, Lord (Lancs)|
|Kenyon, James||Murray, Colonel W. (Bath)||Stock, James Henry|
|Kenyon-Slaney, Colonel W.||Nicholson, William Graham||Sturt, Hon. Humphry N.|
|Lawrence Sir E Durning- (Corn.)||Parkes, Ebenezer||Sutherland, Sir Thomas|
|Lawson, John G. (Yorks)||Pearson, Sir Weetman D.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Lea, Sir T. (Londonderry)||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Leigh-Bennett, Henry C.||Pierpoint, Robert||Tomlinson, W. E. Murray|
|Llewellyn, E. H. (Somerset)||Powell, Sir Francis S.||Usborne, Thomas|
|Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn- (Sw'ns'a)||Pretyman, Ernest George||Warde, Lt.-Col. C. E. (Kent)|
|Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Pryce-Jones, Edward||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Loder, Gerald Walter E.||Purvis, Robert||Webster, Sir R. E. (I. of W.)|
|Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)||Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.||Wentworth, B. C. Vernon-|
|Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverp'l)||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. T.||Whiteley, H (Ashton-under-L.)|
|Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller||Robertson, H. (Hackney)||Williams, J. Powell (Birm.)|
|Lowe, Francis William||Robinson, Brooke||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)||Wilson, J. W. (Worc'sh., N.)|
|Lucas-Shadwell, William||Samuel, H. S. (Limehouse)||Wodehouse, E. R. (Bath)|
|Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Sandys, Lt.-Col. T. Myles||Yerburgh, Robert A.|
|McArthur, C. (Liverpool)||Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard|
|McKillop, James||Sharpe, William E. T.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Milward, Colonel Victor||Shaw, C. E. (Stafford)|
|Monk, Charles James||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)|
Amendment proposed to the Bill—
In page 1, line 6, to leave out the words from the word 'prisons' to the word 'and,' in line 7."—(The Home Secretary.)
*THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT
I beg now, Sir, to move the omission of the words which were inserted by the Grand Committee in reference to the composition of the Prison Commission, directing, in lines 6 and 7 of the Amended Bill, that—One of them shall be a medical man skilled in mental diseases.I do so, not with any intention of resisting the opinion of the Grand Committee, but because I do not think the hands of the Secretary of State ought to be tied by making the appointment on the Commission of a medical officer skilled in mental diseases compulsory. I am quite prepared to admit, as I do on my own behalf, and I am sure on behalf of the office, that it is extremely desirable that more attention should be paid to the question of mental disease in the ease of prisoners; yet I do think that it is undesirable from every point of view that there should be an absolutely compulsory enactment in an Act of Parliament which does not exist in the Irish Act or the Scotch Act, although the practice under those Acts in the opinion of the Commissioners is very good. I am far from saying that I do not think it is 468 extremely desirable from that point of view that the medical element should be strengthened in our prison administration, but there are several difficulties connected with it, in getting men to serve on the Commission, and so on, and for my own part I hope the House will be content with the assurance that I give that I desire on my own part to strengthen the medical element and to give due effect to it. At the same time I do not think, as I have stated, that the hands of the Secretary of State ought to be tied by words which in themselves are too rigid. I quite admit to the honourable Member for Mayo, who proposed an Amendment in the Committee, that it is most desirable that these subjects should be paid attention to, and I desire to do so in the most effective manner, but I hope the House will give me, as Secretary of State, and my successors in the future, a free hand in this matter, with the assurance that we have no idea of narrowing the opinion of the Grand Committee, and that I desire to eliminate these words only because I fear they may be very embarrassing.
§ MR. FLOWER
Mr. Speaker, I hope the House will decide to retain these words which are proposed to be omitted. In this matter the opinion of the Standing Committee on Law was expressed with no uncertain voice. I speak from memory, but I think I am right in saying that 25 Members of the, Standing Committee on Law voted in 469 favour of the insertion of these words, and only eight Members against it. Sir, the arguments in favour of bringing to bear the influence of medical men skilled in mental diseases in connection with the administration of our prison system were literally and simply overwhelming. The Departmental Committee appointed by the late Government, the Chairman of which I see in his place, reported in favour of this proposal. There was a general consensus, of opinion amongst the members of the Departmental Committee in favour of the proposal, and it is included in the recommendations of its Report. ["No, no!"] Yes, Sir, that is so.
§ *THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT
The Departmental Committee recommended that a medical gentleman should be appointed a member of the board, but the Standing Committee propose that a medical gentleman skilled in mental diseases shall be appointed a member, which is a different matter.
§ MR. FLOWER
But surely, this is a question of the utmost importance in regard to our prison administration. We are not fighting for words, we are fighting for the principle that the administration of prison life in this country shall not be recruited merely from the ranks of successful civil servants, and more or less successful military servants, but that in addition those who can bring to bear on the problem of life in prisons something like personal acquaintance with, and knowledge of, the difficulties which arise from mental disease shall also be associated with the Commission. It was with that object that this Amendment was moved in the Standing Committee on Law, and it was with that view that the Standing Committee by an overwhelming majority accepted it; and I most earnestly implore this House not to eliminate the conclusion arrived at by the Standing Committee.
§ *MR. DAVITT
Mr. Speaker, I can only describe the action of the Home Secretary in moving the rejection of the Amendment carried in the Grand Committee upstairs as most extraordinary.
§ *MR. DAVITT
Well, I am going to show why. I am not going so far as to say that the conduct of the right honourable Gentleman in this respect is without precedent, but I think I am right in saying that it has been the rule in this House that when an Amendment is carried by a great majority of a Grand Committee that decision should not be disturbed by the House afterwards. ["No, no!"] Well, apart from precedents, I may say that in this instance, considering the facts referred to by my honourable Friend who has just sat down, that a recommendation on these lines was contained in the Departmental Committee's Report, and that this Amendment was carried in the Grand Committee upstairs by a majority of three to one, my characterisation of the Home Secretary's conduct as extraordinary is not at all without justification. In fact, Sir, this proposal that a medical man should be appointed upon the Prison Commission is objected to not so much by the Home Secretary, who has shown in the whole of the discussion on this Bill a broad and humane mind, but we have to deal with an external influence. The right honourable Gentleman is in this respect the instrument of gentlemen in the Home Office who do not want to have among their ranks as Prison Commissioners a man skilled in mental diseases. Sir, I sincerely hope and trust that the House will resent this interference with the decision of the Grand Committee on the part of the Prison Commissioners, and will endorse the decision come to by the Committee upstairs. My honourable Friend the Member for Bradford has reminded the House that this Amendment which is now proposed to be excluded from the Bill is simply carrying out the recommendation made by the Committee of 1895, and it is well known to the Home Secretary that this is a reform which has been, demanded again and again in the Press and by the friends of prison reform all over the country. He is aware that it has been stated again and again, on the testimony of figures that cannot be denied, that insanity has been growing to a large extent in the prisons of Great Britain in consequence of the severe character of your prison discipline; and in view of all these facts it was not an extraordinary proposal, but a rational 471 proposal in line with advancing thought upon the question of prison reform, that a man qualified with, knowledge of mental disease should assist the Prison Commissioners in the administration of the prisons of Great Britain. Why, Sir, it is well known in this connection that in every civilised country outside England at the present time there are experts in the employment of their Governments who make the study of crime their sole duty. Some authorities have declared, and I think rightly, that crime is really a form of moral insanity; and we have in connection with the prison reports of America and of Italy and of France every year the results of the investigations and studies of those experts in mental diseases in connection with the influence of imprisonment upon the minds of the prisoners. Surely, then, it is not an innovation, it is not a thing to be resisted, when a similar demand is made in connection with, the administration of the prisons of Great Britain. I am bound to say, Sir, in regard to this matter, that the Home Secretary is scarcely keeping faith with the promises and spirit of his speeches in the Grand Committee upstairs. I say again he is simply the instrument in this respect of the Prison Commission, and there are those upon these benches, and in other parts of this House, who will not forget the action of the Prison Commission in this respect when the Estimates relating to them come up for consideration. I would appeal to the House in connection with this Amendment not to be dictated to by those gentlemen in the Home Office, by those promoted clerks of that establishment, and by those military men who form that Commission. I think that in this matter the House of Commons should be allowed to have a voice as to who are the best qualified to administer the prisons of this country; and when a demand of this character is made, backed up by public opinion, I say it is too bad that the Home Secretary should be influenced by the Prison Commissioners in order to destroy the decision of the Committee upstairs.
§ *THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT
I hope, Sir, I may be allowed to make a personal explanation. I assure the honourable Gentleman who has just sat down that 472 my proposal has nothing to do with what he speaks of. I have looked into the matter, and, as I stated in any former remarks, I do not think that the hands of the Secretary of State ought to be tied in such a manner as they are here. I do admit that it is most desirable to do what the majority of the Members of the Grand Committee desired—namely, to strengthen the medical element and influence upon the Prison Commission, but I do not think it is desirable to lay it down that there must be a medical member of the board. The systems that exist in Scotland and Ireland are working very satisfactorily. There is a medical member on the board in Ireland, but not by Act of Parliament. There is no medical member on the board in Scotland, but the system there is working in an extremely satisfactory manner. I have said already, and I say again, that I consider that the medical element upon the Prison Commission ought to be strengthened, and very likely in the event of a vacancy it would be possible to put a medical member on the board. I say for myself that I should wish to carry out that intention, but I think it is most undesirable to put a provision in an Act of Parliament that one of the Commissioners must be a medical man skilled in mental disease, when one knows very well that there may be circumstances in which it might be difficult to get such a Commissioner, and that there are other considerations to be taken into account. But so far as the principle which I understood to be advocated in the Committee is concerned. I hope I am not departing from the undertaking I gave.
§ *MR. BURNS
Mr. Speaker, if I had to choose whether this Prisons Bill should be lost entirely, or whether this Amendment should be carried, I would rather see the loss of the Bill than surrender—because that is what it practically means—the demand for the presence of a medical man on the board of our local prisons. I consider it is a breach of faith on the part of the Home Secretary—
§ *THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT
Why? I was beaten in a Division in the Grand 473 Committee; but is that a reason why I should not try to set the matter right here?
§ *MR. BURNS
Mr. Speaker, I was one of those who were on the Grand Committee on Law, and was impressed by the character and the personnel of the majority of 25 that voted in favour of a medical man being appointed on the Prisons Board; and when we know, as we do know, what was the character of the discussion in the Grand Committee on Law, and consider we had no notification whatever from the right honourable Gentleman that these words would be deleted, it is at least a matter of sincere regret that we have been delayed until this present moment before we knew that these words were going to be deleted. In this case, I do regard it as a breach of faith that we had no notification that the decision of the Grand Committee was going to be departed from. Now, Sir, the Home Secretary tells us that he objects to his hands being tied. It seems to me that his hands are not tied by a medical man being proposed in this Prisons Bill, because it is evident that the officials under the Home Secretary do not like medical men. It is evident that they have a preference for military men. The whole military system of the prison administration is proved by the fact that out of nine members who have recently been promoted, either as governors or deputy-governors, seven have been military men. Now, Sir, if vacancies occurred in any other country, instead of there being seven military men out of nine appointed, it would be the other way round. The fact is the general opinion is that, not only with regard to prison; administration, but also with regard to factory administration, the doctor, as a rule, makes the best official. And he makes the best supervisor; he knows the conditions under which our prison population have to live, and he is more amenable and susceptible to scientific opinion than a military man. It is because that is not in keeping with the ideas and prejudices of the bureaucracy of the Home Office that I gather we have these words deleted. Now, Sir, I want to know why it is necessary that 474 these words should be deleted. The Home Secretary tells us that if it is not put in the Act probably we shall get a medical man. What guarantee have we that the next Home Secretary will be in that mood? We have no guarantee that the next Home Secretary will not depart from the view expressed by the Home Secretary to-night, and object to medical men altogether. It is because we believe in medical men that the Grand Committee on Law, by a three to one majority, have approved of medical men, and for that reason I prefer to have the original words inserted in the Statute. There are strong reasons to believe that if the Home Office officials between now and the next General Election exercise much pressure in a certain direction—and they have had too much influence, from my point of view, in one or two directions—we are not only not going to get a medical man, but there is a possibility that even the number of military appointments may increase. But why should a medical man be appointed? That is the argument to which I wish to address myself. What do we find, Sir? We find that insanity in the outside population is eight per 10,000. In 1875 the rate of insanity inside prisons was 113 per 10,000, as against eight per 10,000 amongst the ordinary population, and that increased to 226 per 10,000 in 1890, and in 1895 to 332 per 10,000 in prisons, as against eight per 10,000 outside. What does that indicate? It indicates that crime, certainly in its elementary stage, is more or less traceable to lunacy, to weakness of intellect, to defective education, and to bad environment. Who is better qualified to deal with all the ramifications of that disease—for such it is—which is germinating in our criminals than a medical man who has made a special study of mental diseases? If I wanted to diagnose the mental or moral condition of the prison population, I would not send for an ex-colonel of the Grenadier Guards, but I would select some medical expert, like Sir William Priestley, or the best medical expert or physician on criminology that we could get inside or outside this House. What do we find from the Returns with regard to the mental condition of 475 prisoners? In 1889 there were 407 remanded to Holloway; 215 were sane, 107 were of weak intellect, and 85 of them were absolutely insane. Now, Sir, I contend that that proportion indicates that insanity, more or less, is at the basis of crime in our local prisons. I believe that we ought to have a medical governor to watch that type of prisoner, and, above all, we ought to have a medical commissioner, himself a member of the Prisons Board, who would be able to organise some curative and palliative treatment for this form of insanity, rather than that half-witted men should be dragooned and brutalised as they are now by the existence of military rules and arbitrary governors to a disproportionate extent. And what do we find is the composition of the present Prisons Board? There are two promoted Civil Service clerks, and two military men. Well, they may know something of clerical administration, they may know something about the ordinary rules and regulations of prisons, they may be very good cricketers and better football players; but if I wanted a mental diagnosis of a prisoner I should neither go to a Civil servant, nor to a good cricketer, nor to a good clerical administrator. I should get the best medical expert that it was possible to secure, and in so doing we would be able to follow the example of every prison administration on the continent of Europe. And if we want an argument for a medical man, let us take one of the Prison Commissioners himself. In giving evidence, this is what the present chairman of the Prison Commissioners said—In answer to question 10,235, 'You would say that a large proportion of the prison population was mentally weak?' 'I think that is so with the bulk of the recidivists; I think I should call it moral imbecility.'You don't want an ex-colonel of the Grenadier Guards to diagnose moral imbecility, and to suggest what mental treatment convicts, and especially young convicts, should be subjected to. You have got to secure the square man for the square hole and the round man for the round one, and that means that when crime is frequently the result of insanity, it is a matter rather for the skilled physician and the expert in mental diseases than for the mere drill sergeant. 476 To come to the Prison Committee's Report, what do we find? We find—and I must read this—the Prison Report saying—We think that an early opportunity should be taken of appointing an additional number to the prisons who should be medical men, which new office should take the place of the present medical inspectorship. The detection of disease in its earlier stages taxes the skill of the practitioner to its fullest extent. It appears to us that it might with advantage be made a condition of all medical appointments in prisons that the candidates should produce evidence of having given special attention to the subject of lunacy.We are informed that in Belgium the services of physicians specially conversant with mental disorders are retained for the purpose of detecting cases of incipient insanity which have escaped a less practised eye.That, Sir, is the deliberate opinion of the Prisons Commission that sat upon this particular subject. It was the opinion of the Grand Committee on Law by a three to one majority. It is the opinion of all the doctors outside the House of Commons, and it would be the opinion of the Home Secretary if he had not been unduly influenced by the bureaucratic element of the Home Office, who prefer a military governor, and have a strong objection to a physician simply because he would know too much. But, Sir, I come to the doctor himself, and I quote his pertinent evidence from the Report of the Commission—the evidence of Dr. T. C. Shaw. What does he say?'Are you prepared to say that all criminals should be regarded as patients?' 'From my point of view I do say so.'Then he proceeds by saying—'Well, I think it ought to be of a very limited character and entirely subordinate, first of all, to medical treatment.Then he concludes by saying—'I suppose I may take it from what you have said that you are of opinion that a great deal of medical observation and attention should be given to all inmates of prisons?' He says, 'I do; I should think that the treatment of prisoners has very much led to the treatment of lunatics, and is essentially a medical question.' 'You are of opinion that the prison governor should be a medical man?' And he says, 'Yes.'Well, Sir, that is the view of a medical man, that is the view of a Prison Commission, that is the view of the Grand Committee on Law. The chairman of the Prisons Board is even when examined by Commission in favour of 477 increasing the appointments of medical men, and subjecting prisoners to what I may term medical treatment. Now, Sir, some will say that if we carry a medical man as a member of the Prisons Board there is a strong probability that the new element will interfere with the discipline of prisoners, will interfere with the existing administration and revolutionise the present system in the wrong direction. If this revolution is in a humanitarian direction, it is to be welcomed, not feared. But he will be out-voted by three to one who takes that view before the Grand Committee. The Home Secretary will always have the power to revise his recommendations, and the House of Commons is not inclined to allow even a medical expert in criminal diseases to have his own way, except when he is right in every direction. So consequently he would be controlled and supervised, and his suggestions would be revised. But I venture to say, Sir, that we ought, in the matter of prison treatment, to follow the example that all the local authorities throughout Great Britain and Ireland have followed with regard to the treatment of lunatics. Why, Sir, there is not a great deal of difference between a man who is a lunatic and a man who is a criminal, in the majority of cases. The old system of treating a lunatic was, what? To put him in a padded room, to brutalise him, to subject him to degraded conditions, and to put him in a strait-jacket. Under the old system he was subject to cruel treatment of the most infamous character. Happily that has been done away with, and a better system has been adopted. How has this improvement been effected? By introducing the civilian element into our prisons, by exalting the doctor, and displacing to a great extent the military element by educational and reformative influences, and by bringing to the treatment and care of lunatics every one of the influences which a physician brings to bear. Speaking as a member of a body which looks after 17,000 pauper lunatics, many of whom have been driven into lunacy by solitary confinement, corporal punishment, and the military administration of prisons, we find that very often we are unable, thanks to the brutal 478 treatment they have endured, to snatch men from lunacy back to sanity, simply because they have been driven too far along the path of degradation and demoralisation before we received them. That is the result of the present brutal treatment in prisons, and I venture to say that if every one of our prisons had a doctor as governor the ratio of discharges would be considerably increased, the number of prisoners returning back to gaol would be considerably diminished, and money would be saved. Some honourable Members may shake their heads, and say "No," but it is the experience in America. In our own industrial school at Redhill, where we have criminal boys of predatory instincts, what do we find? That when they are subjected to the doctor, the schoolmaster, and get plenty of exercise, games of cricket, and so on, and are given a home life and every remedy we can, 91 per cent. of them dismissed from the school never come back again. That is the result of the kindly influences brought to bear on them; and if that is true of lads born and bred in the streets of London, it is equally true of criminals with weak intellects. In America I visited seven or eight reformatories and asylums. What are the facts? The governor is a medical man, the assistant governor is a physician skilled in mental diseases, and even the secretary of the prison has been probably a medical steward or a medical superintendent; and we find in American reformatories and prisons dominated by the medical element that the percentage of prisoners discharged who never return is fully as high as that of our industrial schools. I sincerely hope the House of Commons will rise superior to the Home Secretary. I believe that the right honourable Gentleman himself is not favourable to the omission of these words. They are nothing more nor less than the last stroke of the Home Office officials against prison reform, and those who want to save the Home Secretary from these officials will vote against his Amendment. If a medical man is not instituted on the Prisons Board, the present system will, with one or two exceptions, go on as it is. Through the lack of a medical man 479 the official and military element will probably resist encroachment, because if the reformative spirit were carried to a legitimate conclusion it would probably reduce the number of governorships available for military men. We want a medical man on the board, because the doctor has the confidence of the British public. I urge the House to reject this Amendment, and to do to the Home Secretary what we did to him in the Grand Committee—beat him by three to one, and thereby to substitute on the Prisons Board for the Mr. Hyde of the Home Office the benevolent Dr. Jekyll.
§ MR. HALDANE
I do not think that there is really so much difference between the right honourable Gentleman, and the honourable Member who has just spoken as he seems to imagine, and I think it is capable of being bridged over. The right honourable Gentleman has told us that he concurs with the view that the medical element should be more largely infused into the direction of our prison system. The right honourable Gentleman in the Grand Committee strongly objected to these words being put in on the ground that they would tie his hands. One sympathises with that difficulty, I can see the case where a civilian, would be a better appointment than any medical man available at the moment. Surely it is not necessary to go so far as to reject those words. All that is wanted is to allow some latitude to those whose duty it is to make these appointments. We are not opponents of the right honourable Gentleman. We know he himself would be disposed, in making future appointments, to give attention to the desirability of the presence of the medical and skilled element, but if these words are rejected there is nothing to bind his successor, or to place on record his opinion, or the opinion of the House. It seems to me the matter may be met by providing in the Bill that one Commissioner should, where practicable, and where the other qualifications are equal, be a medical man skilled in mental diseases. If the right honourable Gentleman does not press for the omission of these words, it would be open to the House to introduce words such as these into the clause, which would give latitude as regards future appointments and would save the Home Secre- 480 tary for the time being from having his hands tied and being compelled, as the right honourable Gentleman seems to fear, to make an appointment which might not be the best appointment. The matter was considered by the Prisons Committee, of which I was a member, and many of the opinions given before that Committee were to the effect that the time would come when more care and attention should be given to what I may call the pathological side of prison life. We must recognise that, in consequence of some mental peculiarity or aberration, men are led into crime, and many of them are capable of amelioration. I do not say it is so of all criminals, but it is so of a considerable number, and it is a matter which has been overlooked. It seems to me it is desirable to introduce this scientific element into our prison administration. The matter is not met by simply having a medical inspector. The existing medical inspector is a most valuable public servant, and far be it from me to suggest in the least any supersession of him. But we want something more than a medical inspector—we want a councillor at headquarters. The medical member of the Prisons Board would not only deal with the treatment of the in sane or the elimination of disease in prisons. He would have to look into sanitation, dietary, and general treatment in prisons, and into the great number of reforms which are being pressed more and more on the attention of the House, and it seems to me that the functions of the councillor would be far wider and more general than those possessed by the present medical inspector, however valuable his services may be. I would therefore suggest to the right honourable Gentleman and the House that the situation could be met, not by striking out those words, but by introducing words such as I have suggested into the clause as it stands, which would leave the right honourable Gentleman freedom, but which would indicate to his successors in office the policy which he himself intends to adopt, and which I believe it is the sense of the House he should adopt, in connection with the administration of our prisons. I think we might well agree not to insist upon the Amendment on the understanding that words be inserted giving the right honour- 481 able Gentleman discretion, and indicating his policy to his successor.
§ THE SOLICITOR GENERAL (Sir R. FINLAY,) Inverness Burghs
I do not think there is any difference of opinion as to whether this is a most desirable thing. We are all agreed on that point. But if any doubt now exists in the minds of honourable Members it has been caused by the somewhat extravagant language of the honourable Member for Battersea. When the honourable Member comes forward and tells us that all criminals ought to be treated as lunatics, he does not help his case, but rather creates a prejudice against views so extravagantly expressed. We are all agreed that the highest medical science ought to be brought to bear on the administration of our prisons, but whether it is desirable that on all occasions one of the prison commissioners should be a medical man is another question. It may be that under certain circumstances, if the right man is available, there ought to be a medical man. I think that, all round, medical science is very desirable for such a post as that, and the Home Secretary has expressed his desire that, so far as is practicable, such resources should be placed at the disposal of the Prison Commissioners. But it is a very different thing indeed to propose that the Home Secretary should be tied down by Act of Parliament to see that one member of the Prison Commission should always be a member of the medical profession especially skilled in mental disease. Now, my honourable Friend who has last spoken has suggested that some such words be inserted as that "as far as practicable, and other things being equal," a medical man should be one skilled in mental diseases. But I cannot agree with that. What is the meaning of "as far as practicable, and other things being equal"? Such language was never, to my knowledge, used in an Act of Parliament.
§ SIR R. FINLAY
Well, no one is so well skilled in using qualifications as my honourable and learned Friend.
§ MR. DILLON
Sir, in supporting the Amendment, I would just like to say one 482 or two words on the desirability of bringing the highest scientific and medical opinion to bear on this subject. I do not think there is any difference of opinion on the abstract proposition, but there is a very great difference of opinion as to the best means of putting it into execution. I desire to recall one thing to the recollection of the honourable Member for Haddington, which seems to have escaped his memory, and it is that this very point was discussed by the Grand Committee on Law, where it was much more exhaustively discussed than is possible in full Committee of the House. What is the opinion of the Home Secretary? He opposed it from the start. He opposed it in principle. He said there was a strong objection at the Home Office to placing a medical man on the board—
§ *THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT
What I said was that it was a matter of controversy whether or no it would largely increase the efficiency of the board, and whether it would not be better to retain the chief inspector. I did not commit myself to the expression of opinion which the honourable Member imputes to me.
§ MR. DILLON
Well, Sir, I had a strong impression that that was the right honourable Gentleman's opinion. The idea of the Home Office seemed to be that the best way of bringing medical science to bear on this great problem was by keeping the medical man in a subordinate position, and under the control of the military and civil officials. That, Sir, is a principle which I absolutely oppose. All the indications in the speech of the right honourable Gentleman point, if I may say so, to this conclusion—that there are strong influences at work in the Home Office against having a medical man on the board, and it is these influences which we in this House should check. Therefore I say that if these words are left out we have no solid ground for believing that a medical man will be a welcome acquisition to the board. What is the ground set up for the retention of these words? Sir, the ground appears to be this: that, in the course of recent discussions, and in the experience of successive Home 483 Secretaries, they themselves have been left in ignorance of the facts. Then they have come down to the House and declared that this man was insane. With regard to three or four members of a small class of prisoners, it may prove one thing; but may we not reasonablyinfer—is it not a matter of absolute certainty—that, if you take the case of a thousand prisoners, there are every year, numbers of men who are already insane or becoming insane? The victims of this insidious malady are not going to be adequately dealt with unless there is a considerable medical element on the board, and they should be introduced, not in a subordinate position, but in a position of equal authority with the Prison Commissioners themselves, and who represent not merely the medical and scientific, but the humane side of this great problem. The only practical difficulty which I have heard the Home Secretary express is that it might be difficult to discover a man who is capable of dealing with the subject. For what reason? Difficult to discover a capable man, skilled in the treatment of mental diseases, in a country like this, with its population of thirty-seven millions! Difficult to procure such a man in this land, with its great lunatic asylums, and equipped with men greatly skilled in the treatment of these diseases! Difficult, I say, when we have so many great seats of learning in medical science, filled with students who make a speciality of this particular branch of science! To say that, under these circumstances, the Government of this country cannot possibly find a suitable and proper man to add to the board in that capacity, to say that not one of all the clever men who are at work in the great asylums of this country, would be glad to take the post is an excuse which I dismiss as grotesque and utterly preposterous, and it is an outrage on the character of the members of the great medical profession. To deliberately state that as a reason against such an appointment—and it would be impossible to select a properly qualified man from all the medical profession—
§ *THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT
The honourable Member is mistaken. I did not say so.
§ *THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT
The difficulty I referred to was to find the man with all the necessary qualifications.
§ MR. DILLON
Well, I leave it to the House to judge. But I submit that the remedy is easy to find. This, Sir, is a very rich country, and nobody would begrudge an increase of salary to a suitable man, when found. Then I say that much of the teaching of modern science and medical skill goes to show that it is directed to the solution of this great problem. Attention to it increases every day, and, viewed from the medical aspect, everything is in favour of the proposition. I must allude, Sir, to one remark made by the honourable Member for Battersea. He spoke very strongly, and no doubt he feels very strongly, but, at the same time, I think it was very unfair on the part of the honourable Member. He used an illustration which, I think, was to the point, and very interesting. He recalled to the House instances of the treatment of lunatics. The time is not so long ago when they used to treat the poor lunatics much in the same way as they treated a wild animal, particularly when they locked him up in the cell, and dashed cold water over him two or three times a day. That was the treatment that was at one time devised by medical men. And it was left for the great reformers in Italy, France, and elsewhere, who rescued the poor lunatic from the brutal clutches of his keepers of that day, to bring about the change. One of the most horrible chapters that ever stained the history of the human race is the old-time treatment of lunatics. The proposals we are now making are no more ridiculous than the proposals of the great doctoral who first undertook to reform the treatment of lunatics in Italy and France. Then, as now, these reformers were denounced as wild dreamers; and it was proved, as the honourable Member for, Battersea has stated, that the commission of crime to a large extent springs from the root of insanity. Every medical man knows that a large proportion of crime is due, in one form or 485 another, to lunacy or weakness of intellect, or weakness of will, and that you ought not to take any extreme step except after a continual supervision by medical attention and medical advice, and after the best advice that you can secure. Nobody who has looked into this question with sympathy, and a desire to understand it, agrees with the prison treatment meted out in this country or in Ireland. This prison treatment has, up to the present, been left almost entirely in the hands of men who have had no previous experience of the treatment of the class of prisoners with whom they have to deal, and who have had no acquaintance with the mental and medical questions involved. That has been the fault of the prison system of this country; and the illustration that goes to the root of the evil is that which takes military men in middle life, or civilians with no Better qualifications, to govern the great mass of the population of our gaols. I believe that the day is not far distant, at least I trust it is not far distant, when those who come after us will look on the treatment that is now being accorded to the prisoners in Portland and other prisons with as much abhorrence and as much condemnation as we look back to the treatment meted out to the lunatics in the early days of the century.
§ MR. PICKERSGILL
Sir, my memory entirely confirms what has fallen from my honourable Friend. When this proposal was brought forward in Grand Committee the right honourable Gentleman did not say, as he does now, that he was with us in principle, but he distinctly objected to the presence of a medical man on the board, saying he would be an encumbrance.
§ *THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT
I never said anything of the sort. I certainly argued against the necessity of the appointment of a medical gentleman on the board. I said that I thought the medical officer might be more useful as a chief inspector—that he might do more good in that way. I never went so far as to say anything like what the honourable Gentleman imputes to me.
§ MR. PICKERSGILL
The right honourable Gentleman has entirely confirmed and justified what I said. He admits that he argued against the presence of a medical man on the board, arguing, repeating in fact, exactly what the Prison Commissioners have put into print in their observations upon the Report of the Prison Committee. Well, Sir, now the right honourable Gentleman entirely shifts his grounds. He says now that he is with us in desiring as a rule, at all events, to have the assistance of a medical man, not as a subordinate of the other Commissioners, but as their co-equal member at the board. But the difficulty which he now raises is of a different kind. He says—it will not be always possible when a vacancy occurs to find a suitable medical man.I venture to think, Sir, the right honourable Gentleman has exaggerated the difficulty of the case. Surely it must be within the knowledge of this House that during the last 20 or 30 years, the medical profession as a whole have been devoting very much more attention to psychological questions, and, of course, arising under that, the treatment of lunacy; and I think that there would be a very considerable area from which the right honourable Gentleman would always be able to select suitable men. Besides, Sir, we have what I think is a very strong precedent to guide us. There is the Lunacy Commission. Now, Sir, what is the law with regard to the Lunacy Commission? The right honourable Gentleman complains that we are asking Parliament to tie his hands. Well, Sir, those authorities who have the appointment of the Lunacy Commission have their hands tied in exactly the manner in which we are asking Parliament to tie the hands of the Home Office. It is provided by law that a member of the Lunacy Commission, which consists of three members, shall always be a medical man. We are only asking for exactly the same thing. If there was only one Prison Commissioner, I should feel to the full the force of the objection, but seeing that the law provides that there may be five Commissioners, though there are now only four—one place seeming to be likely to be permanently vacant, as it has been vacant now for a long time—I think it is not too much to ask, and not 487 unreasonable to ask, that one out of the five shall be a medical man skilled in mental disease. This was added in the Grand Committee on Law, and this, which I think one of the most important pieces of work which the Committee did, we are now asked to defeat. Sir, it is obviously most reasonable that a member of the Commission should be a medical man. We are not without experience. For many years now the Prisons Board of Ireland has included a medical man, and I believe it is admitted by all who are competent to judge that the prison system in Ireland compares very favourably—presents, indeed, a favourable contrast in some respects to the prison system of England. It is more humane, and you have had an absence of those scandals in Ireland which have—I do not say very frequently—from time to time occurred in England; and it is the general opinion that these happier features of the prison system in Ireland are largely, if not exclusively, due to the presence of a medical man on the Prisons Board. The Howard Association, which is not at all an extreme association, which supports the Prison Commissioners to a far greater extent than I like, the Howard Association has been urging for many years that there ought to be a medical man on the board. In spite of those strong representations, coming from so influential an association, we have never succeeded in obtaining the presence of a medical man on the board. In these circumstances I do not think it is open to the right honourable Gentleman to say that the presence of a medical man in Ireland is not required by law, and therefore we might be content to leave England in this respect in the same situation. In Ireland it appears that the obligation of law is not necessary. Without obligation you have had through a succession of years what we are asking for England. We have not been able to have it in England, simply through making representations to the Home Office, and therefore I say there is the strongest reason why Parliament should make the matter obligatory. May I make an appeal to the right honourable Gentleman? I do not join in any charge of breach of faith against the right honourable Gentleman. The right honourable Gentleman opposed this pro- 488 posal, and was defeated. If a Minister is defeated in Grand Committee he is quite within his right in bringing the matter up again in the House; but when a Minister of the Crown, in spite of the enormous influence he naturally exercises in that Committee, is defeated by a majority of 25 to 8 I do put it to the House that it is a very significant circumstance. Apart from the question of breach of faith, the right honourable Gentleman will be well advised, I think, in not asking the House to reverse the decision of the Committee. The right honourable Gentleman must recognise, if he casts his eye over the Order Paper, that many of us on these benches, who are earnest prison reformers, have abstained from raising in the House many questions on which we feel deeply, on which we were beaten in Grand Committee. We have accepted our defeat. The right honourable Gentleman must recognise that we have not crowded the Order Paper with Amendments. I say it will now be generous, at all events, on the part of the right honourable Gentleman, in a spirit of give and take, to recognise that we are abstaining from pressing points on which we are feeling strongly, and, in recognition of that, that he should not press this Amendment.
§ *SIR H. FOWLER
I, Sir, was a member of the majority of the Grand Committee, and I voted for this clause, and I shall vote in the same direction again. But, Sir, there are one or two points which I should like to put to the House, in order that we may clearly understand where we are, and not do injustice either to ourselves or our opponents in this matter. The first point I would remark on—I feel bound to make a protest against it—is the doctrine that a majority in a Grand Committee is to bind the decision of the House. I am satisfied that there is no idea that would strike a more fatal blow at the whole system of Grand Committees than if the House felt that a decision, hardly fought and contested in that Committee, by even so large a majority as 25 to 8, was to bind the majority of the House. I am satisfied that the Grand Committee system would fall at once if that were accepted. The House itself is supreme, and must continue to be the final tribunal for decid- 489 ing what is to be the policy m any question, totally irrespective of what the decision of the Grand Committee may be, although the House has always attached, and will always attach, great weight to the opinion of the Grand Committee on any question. My honourable Friend who has just sat down has said what I expected he would say, and what I am sure those on this side of the House, who took part in the discussion, will feel, that there is not a shadow of foundation for imputing to the Home Secretary any breach of faith. The Home Secretary opposed this Amendment in Grand Committee on the same grounds as he has opposed it to-night. He has not changed his position; and because he, exercising his own independent judgment—though I myself do not agree with it—upon a question of public policy, thinks right to appeal to the gentlemen of the House of Commons, I think it is not exactly just to him to charge him with a breach of faith. With reference to this question itself, I cordially agree with the honourable Member for Haddington with reference to the great importance of this Amendment as a step in the direction of prison reform. I do not quite agree with the exact wording of this Amendment, that the medical man should be "skilled in mental diseases." I think what is wanted, if such a person can be found, is an all-round medical man, not a mere specialist in mental disease, one who is capable of dealing with what I am bound to say I attach equal importance to, the sanitary condition of the prison, and, above all, the dietary of the prison. If I were asked to select the points in which I think the Prison Commissioners have failed, I should say it has been in the question of diet. If the Home Secretary had not made, as he did make, concessions in the matter of the diet, that must have involved very prolonged debate in this House, because the dietary system has broken down, and shows that we have hitherto not only punished our prisoners, but that we have starved them. I do attach importance to having a medical man to deal with dietary questions, sanitary questions, and also with disease. The Home Secretary agrees with that. He says—I think, on principle, it is desirable that one of the members of the Commission should be skilled in medical science.490 His case is this—the case put in the Grand Committee—I do not want to be bound by legislation, by Statute, to make this appointment.He thinks the time may arrive when it would be impossible to find a man of such standing, experience, and ability as he would be justified in appointing. My honourable Friend the Member for Mayo gets out of the difficulty rather easily, the Chancellor of the Exchequer not being present, by saying, "You might raise the salary." But I do not consider that is practical politics, because the Commissioners of Prisons are, as we know, of a certain standard, of public officer, having certain salaries, and you cannot disturb one salary without disturbing them all. I can quite understand that eminent medical men may not be disposed to take the position with the salary attached to the position. The Home Secretary does not wish to be statutorily bound to appoint a medical man; but he says—My intention is to do so, if I can find a suitable man.I think he is right in that presumption, because, if he once committed himself to that, his successors would be bound by the precedent. My honourable Friend the Member for Haddington asks the Home Secretary to agree to some words being inserted in the Bill to indicate that it is the opinion of Parliament that it is desirable, where practicable, to appoint a medical man. I agree with the Solicitor General; I do not agree with the cœteris paribus argument. I do not know whether the Home Secretary would be disposed to accept substantive words at the end of the clause by saying that it should be his duty, as far as practicable, to select a medical man. I do not care what the wording is, Mr. Speaker, if we can have an indication of the opinion of Parliament as a guide to the Home Secretary's judgment. These words have been suggested to me, and I will just read them to the Home Secretary—It shall be the duty of the Secretary of State in appointing the Commissioners to secure, where practicable, that one of such Commissioners shall be a medical man.These words I do not press upon the Home Secretary, but I would ask that he would consent to meet the views expressed on both sides of the House, and 491 adopt declaratory words indicating the desire of Parliament that, where practical, a medical man should be appointed. I still attach very great importance to the introduction of a medical man, and, if he can be obtained, I think his appointment would be of the greatest value. One remark I might make as to one which fell from my honourable Friend the Member for Battersea. He said he would sooner lose the Bill than that this clause should be struck out. I cannot think my honourable Friend really means that.
§ *SIR H. FOWLER
I am sorry to hear my honourable Friend say so, because he has rendered the greatest assistance in the Grand Committee in re-forming and extending this Bill. This is one of the greatest reforms in criminal procedure that has been put on the Statute Book for many a long year. It does not do all that I myself or my honourable Friend the Member for Haddingtonshire want, but it affords an enormous reform in prison procedure, and it puts the whole regulation of the prisons of this country under the control of the House of Commons, which they have never been before. Power is placed in the hands of the Home Secretary, and the House of Commons will hold the Home Secretary responsible in the future for all details of prison management. Strongly as I support the Amendment, I do not think it does any good to exaggerate its importance and make it of supreme position in the Bill. For instance, supposing that a vacancy takes place the week after this Bill is passed in the body of Prison Commissioners. Would the Home Secretary fill that appointment without regard to the wishes expressed in this House? Would he do so, when the House of Commons the next Session could review that decision upon the Vote for his own salary?
§ *SIR H. FOWLER
He could not. He would have to justify his position, and that position, I am sure, the right honourable Gentleman would never attempt to justify.
§ *SIR H. FOWLER
Well, I am not afraid of the 150 majority when you have a 492 good case; if the 150 majority votes wrongly there is popular opinion behind the 150 which will sooner or later tell. But that is beside the mark. I would appeal to the Home Secretary, if he can, to consent to some words which would indicate the desire of Parliament that a medical man should be appointed.
§ *THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT
An appeal has been made to me, and if it were possible for me to agree to the suggestion of my right honourable Friend, I would willingly do so. I concur, as far as I am concerned, with the view that generally it is desirable to introduce this element in the management of our prisons. I do not know quite what the words mean. If we put into the Act of Parliament a clause that a Commissioner shall be a medical man where practicable, I really do not know what the responsibility of the Secretary of State is. I venture to say this, that after the explanations and promise I have given, and the thorough agreement I have shown with the general principle of the Grand Committee, it does seem to me that I have done all the honourable Gentlemen desire. The House ought to accept my assurance that I desire that the medical element should be strengthened in the administration of our prisons. I think that to put in what was not in the Irish nor any other Act of Parliament may operate to defeat the very object which the honourable Members have in view. I would accept the words if I could, but I really do not see my way to.
§ *SIR H. FOWLER
May I ask the Home Secretary whether he would be disposed to put on the records of his Office, as is done in some other Departments, a minute stating that in his opinion such a step should be taken?
§ *THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT
Certainly, Sir. I wish to depart in no way from what I have said. I do not say that when I get the opportunity I shall not be prepared to get a medical gentleman to fill the vacant office, but I think it would be desirable that I should not go further than that. I think that is a question which requires consideration. With reference to the general principle I am quite prepared to express myself in that way.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
I think the House is placed in a very difficult position by the language of the Home Secretary. He says first that he is in favour of the medical element being increased in its influence upon the management of prisons as far as possible. Now what does that mean? It may mean very much, or it may mean nothing at all. The Home Secretary has said that he personally is in favour of that—at least, so I understood him, because the language of the right honourable Gentleman, I must say, in some of his statements, struck me as somewhat contradictory. The right honourable Gentleman, as I understand, now says that he himself would be disposed, if there were a vacancy, to put a medical man in the vacant place.
§ *THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT
I made no promise, but I have said I thought it very likely would be a desirable thing, according to the circumstances of the time. I am not at all unfavourable to it.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
Now, I put it to the House, has not the right honourable Gentleman within the last five minutes receded from the position he took five minutes ago?
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
I do not want to be unfair to the right honourable Gentleman—if I am so it is unintentional—but here is the position. We hold that a medical man is absolutely necessary on this Commission in order to make the prison system of this country humane. That is our position; and we hold that the Prison Commission, without a medical man as a member of that Commission, will not rise to that higher stage of unanimity which the Grand Committee on Law, and the House generally, wants in the treatment in our prisons. Very well, that is our position. How are we met? The Home Secretary says at one moment, "If here was a vacancy I would put a medical man in." At the next moment he says, "I decline to pledge myself, but I may be in favour of putting a medical man in." Is not that shilly-shallying with the whole question? The Home Secretary speaks as if the 494 proposal we make were something absolutely unprecedented. The honourable Member for Bethnal Green has pointed out to the House that already we have Acts of Parliament that compel the appointment of a medical man as a member of the governing body of some of the institutions of the country. A medical man must be a member of the Lunacy Commission. And why? Because the House decided, after long experience, that medical authority was necessary to humanise the treatment of lunatics, and therefore made it compulsory that a medical man should be a member of the Lunacy Commission. I think the House generally holds—the Grand Committee certainly held, by 25 to 8—that the presence of a medical man on the Prisons Commission is necessary to humanise prison treatment. If that be so, why should we not make it compulsory? What is the objection? The Home Secretary does not want to have his hands tied. I say quite candidly, I want to tie them—not only the present Home Secretary, but every Home Secretary; the Liberal Home Secretary that will succeed him, and the Conservative Home Secretary who will succeed the Liberal Home Secretary. We want to make it compulsory on Home Secretaries that the prison system should be humanised by the presence of a medical man. What is the objection? That you cannot get a medical man, an all-round man! Is the Home Secretary serious in making that statement? Why, my honourable Friend the Member for Battersea, who is a member of the London County Council, tells me that they have six medical superintendents for the six asylums under their control, with a salary of £1,000 to £1,200 a year; less than this medical Prison Commissioner would get. It is all nonsense to say that you cannot get a good all-round, expert medical man for a salary of £1,500 a year to be a member of the Prisons Commission. One word about the relations of this House and the Grand Committee. I cannot accept the view of the right honourable Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton. I do not say that this House has not a right to review and to reverse the decision of the Grand Committee, but if the decision of the Grand Committee, declared by a majority of 25 to 8, is to be absolutely 495 ignored when it comes down to this House, what is the use of the Grand Committee? The Grand Committee, as Members of the House who have attended it well know, is a very serious addition to the burden and strain of a Member of Parliament's duties. Professional men especially find it very difficult to come up at 11 or 12 o'clock in the day and to spend three or four hours on the Grand Committee, and them to stop in the House afterwards until after midnight. If all that labour—which at present is a labour of love, and reflects great credit on the men who take part, in it—is to be ignored by the House of Commons when a Bill comes down from the Grand Committee, then I say the sooner we do away with Grand Committees the better. In the Grand Committee the Home Secretary was defeated by a majority of 25 to 8 upon this question. He comes down to this House and raises this question again. When he raised this question about two or three hours ago there were about 10 Members present in the House. Of those 10 Members, except the right honourable Gentleman himself and two or three Members on these Benches, I should say none had ever heard a single word upon this question before. In other words, the Home Secretary appealed from the full knowledge, the full information, and the full discussion of the Grand Committee, to what, with all respect, I say was the unacquaintance of the House generally with the question at issue. That is not treating the Grand Committee fairly. One word finally. The right honourable Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton said that we have destroyed the starvation system of diet. Well, Sir, I remember the night when my honourable Friend the Member for South Mayo described the dietary system in this country as starvation, and I remember the scorn with which the observation was received. He persevered. If the system has been destroyed, it is not due to the Home Secretary, but to my honourable Friend the Member for South Mayo, who has taken, I think, a very noble revenge for the manner in which he used to suffer.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
I do wish that the advocacy of 496 the honourable Gentleman with regard to this Amendment had been applied with equal energy to getting the Bill finished to-night. I cannot help thinking that there is much less difference between the two sides of the House—between my right honourable Friend the Home Secretary and the right honourable Gentleman opposite [Sir H. Fowler]—than perhaps might appear from the recent aspect of this Debate. I understand that the right honourable Gentleman opposite does not wholly associate himself with the particular words in clause 1, which it is proposed to omit. What he desires is that the medical element should be represented on the governing body of the prisons, and he does not desire that the words of the Bill as they stand on the Paper should be used, but that the medical Gentleman appointed should be a medical specialist concerning mental disease. I understand there is no general desire to keep the words as they stand. I think I may go further, because while a desire has been expressed by the other side that the medical element should be represented on the governing body, the right honourable Gentleman associated himself with that general feeling, only he says it seems to him unadvisable to bind, not merely himself—not merely the present Home Secretary and the present Government, but all future Home Secretaries and all future Governments—to having a medical man upon the Prison Board of Commissioners. Well, Sir, it will be, I think, admitted on all sides of the House that these Commissioners could never be without competent medical advice, because the clause goes on to state that they shall be assisted by inspectors, among whom one member shall be a medical man.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
Quite true; he will be a subordinate, but they will have the assistance of that subordinate, and he will be qualified to express his opinion. Surely the compromise suggested by the right honourable Gentleman opposite and accepted by the Home Secretary is one which would meet every necessity of the case.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
The suggestion by my right honourable Friend the Home Secretary was that he ought not to bind himself and his successors for all time—or until a new Act of Parliament was passed—but he has agreed that, at all events, there should be an official Minute embodying my right honourable Friend's view, that that course should be adopted unless there really was strong reason to the contrary. My right honourable Friend has accepted that proposal cordially and fully, and I am bound to say I think, after that public expression of opinion, backed up as it has been by an official promise that a Minute shall be placed on the record of the Home Office, which, though not binding on my right honourable Friend's successors, must necessarily be taken as a guide to those successors—I think after that promise has been given, the House might really consent to adopt the Amendment of my right honourable Friend, especially as it is admitted that some Amendment is necessary in the words as they now stand.
§ MR. TENNANT (Berwickshire)
May I ask an explanation of the right honourable Gentleman, if the Minute would contain words that it is desirable that the board should have this medical gentleman upon it; not merely that our prison system should be strengthened on the medical side, but that a member of the board should be a medical man?
§ the words as far as practicable, and not in a too technical sense.
§ MR. ASQUITH (Fife, E.)
So far as I am concerned, I think this is a satisfactory compromise to be made. I do fully see that there is considerable inconvenience, or that such might arise, in expressing an absolute mandate, and the Home Secretary should be absolutely bound to receive a medical specialist on mental diseases on the Commission. Now, the views expressed, as I understand, on both sides of the House do show that it is most important that the medical element should not merely be represented in the general direction, that is, among the inspectors, but should have a governing voice upon the board itself. The right honourable Gentleman has pledged himself to that.
§ MR. ASQUITH
And has pledged for his successors, as far as any expression of opinion on his part can pledge his successors, that it is to be their practice also. After that I think the House might very reasonably accept the Amendment.
Page 1, line 6, leave out from 'prisons' to 'and' in line 7.'"—(The Home Secretary.)
That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the question.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 81; Noes 178.—(Division List No. 173.)499
|Abraham, Wm. (Rhondda)||Colville, John||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)|
|Allan, Wm. (Gateshead)||Corbett, A. C. (Glasgow)||Kilbride, Denis|
|Allen, Wm. (Newc.-under-L.)||Daly, James||Lambert, George|
|Allhusen, A. H. E.||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland)|
|Allison, Robert Andrew||Dillon, John||Leng, Sir John|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Doogan, P. C.||Leuty, Thomas Richmond|
|Bainbridge, Emerson||Doughty, George||Logan, John William|
|Baker, Sir John||Duckworth, James||Lough, Thomas|
|Billson, Alfred||Dunn, Sir William||Macaleese, Daniel|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Flower, Ernest||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift|
|Brigg, John||Foster, Sir W. (Derby Co.)||McEwan, William|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Goddard, Daniel Ford||M'Ghee, Richard|
|Burt, Thomas||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||McLaren, Chas. Benjamin|
|Caldwell, James||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-||Maddison, Fred.|
|Cameron; Robert (Durham)||Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Molloy, Bernard Charles|
|Cawley, Frederick||Holburn, J. G.||Monk, Charles James|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Holden, Sir Angus||Norton, Capt. Cecil William|
|Clough, Walter Owen||Horniman, Frederick John||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal)||Robson, William Snowdon||Wallace, Robert (Perth)|
|O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Roche, Hon. J. (East Kerry)||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Owen, Thomas||Shaw, Chas. Edw. (Stafford)||Warner, Thos. Courtenay T.|
|Pearson, Sir Weetman D.||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)||Williams, John C. (Notts)|
|Perks, Robert William||Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Steadman, William Charles||Woods, Samuel|
|Pirie, Duncan V.||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Power, Patrick Joseph||Tully, Jasper||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Davitt and Mr. John Burns.|
|Provand, Andrew Dryburgh||Ure, Alexander|
|Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)||Wallace, Robert (Edinburgh)|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F.||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Green, W. D. (Wednesbury)||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbt. H||Greene, H. D. (Shrewsbury)||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Gretton, John||Pollock, Harry Frederick|
|Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire)||Haldane, Richard Burdon||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Bagot, Capt. J. FitzRoy||Halsey, Thomas Frederick||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G.||Pryce-Jones, Edward|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch.)||Hamond, Sir C. (Newcastle)||Purvis, Robert|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robt. W.||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Heath, James||Rentoul, James Alexander|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benj.||Helder, Augustus||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Brist'l)||Henderson, Alexander||Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Hermon-Hodge, R. T.||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. T.|
|Beresford, Lord Charles||Hill, Rt. Hn. Lord A. (Down)||Robertson, Herbt. (Hackney)|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Hoare, E. B. (Hampstead)||Robinson, Brooke|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Hoare, Samuel (Norwich)||Round, James|
|Brookfield, A. Montagu||Howard, Joseph||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Howell, William Tudor||Russell, Gen. F. S. (Cheltenham)|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs)||Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Samuel, H. S. (Limehouse)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, E.)||Johnstone, John H. (Sussex)||Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard|
|Cecil, Lord H. (Greenwich)||Kay-Shuttleworth, Rt Hn Sir U.||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.||Kemp, George||Seely, Charles Hilton|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.)||Kenyon, James||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. William||Sidebotham, J. W. (Cheshire)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Lawrence Sir E Durning-(Corn.)||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Charrington, Spencer||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks)||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Clare, Octavius Leigh||Lea, Sir Thos. (Londonderry)||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E||Legh, Hon. Thos. W. (Lancs)||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Stanley, Lord (Lancs)|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Sw'ns'a)||Stock, James Henry|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.||Strauss, Arthur|
|Cook, Fred. Lucas (Lambeth)||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Cornwallis, Fiennes S. W.||Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)||Sutherland, Sir Thomas|
|Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton)||Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverp'l)||Talbout, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller||Talbot, Rt Hn. J. G. (Oxf'dUny.)|
|Curzon, Viscount (Bucks)||Lowe, Francis William||Tennant, Harold John|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Thomas, David A. (Merthyr)|
|Davenport, W. Bromley-||Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Denny, Colonel||Maclure, Sir John William||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||McArthur, Chas. (Liverpool)||Tomlinson, W. E. Murray|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||McArthur, Wm. (Cornwall)||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Drage, Geoffrey||McKillop, James||Valentia, Viscount|
|Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Warde, Lt.-Col. C. E. (Kent)|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edw.||Milton, Viscount||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Milward, Colonel Victor||Webster, Sir R. E. (I. of W.)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Montagu, Hon. J. S. (Hants)||Wentworth, Bruce C Vernon-|
|FitzGerald, Sir R. Penrose-||More, Robert Jasper||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Fletcher, Sir Henry||Morgan, Hn. F. (Monm'thsh.)||Williams, J. Powell (Birm.)|
|Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk)||Morley, Chas. (Breconshire)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Galloway, William Johnson||Morrell, George Herbert||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Garfit, William||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Gedge, Sydney||Mount, William George||Wodehouse, Edm. R. (Bath)|
|Gibbons, J. Lloyd||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hon. H. J.||Murray, Chas. J. (Coventry)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Newdigate, Francis Alexander||Wyndham, George|
|Goldsworthy, Major-General||Nicholson, William Graham||Young, Comm. (Berks, E.)|
|Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Eldon||Northcote, Hon. Sir H. S.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Goschen, Rt Hn. G. J. (St. G'rg's)||O'Neill, Hon. Robt. Torrens|
|Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Parkes, Ebenezer|
§ Amendment agreed to.501
Page 1, lines 18 and 19, leave out 'for a period of thirty days.'
Page 1, line 19,, after 'Parliament' insert 'for not less than thirty days during which that House is sitting.'"—(The Home Secretary.)
§ *THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT
I move these Amendments in compliance with a promise I made to the honourable Member for Bethnal Green.
§ Amendments agreed to.
§ Amendment proposed—