§ Considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ [Mr. GRANT LAWSON (Yorkshire, N. R. Thirsk) in the Chair.]
§ Clause 1.
§ The CHAIRMAN moved the first four Amendments on the Paper out of order and called upon the hon. Member for the West Derby Division of Liverpool] to move an Amendment to line 20.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said it was not a question of giving way. He rose immediately he was in a position to know that his Amendment came first, and he had a right, therefore, to be heard.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
then moved to insert, after the word "are," the word "not," in that part of Sub-section (2) which says that the immigration board "shall, if they are satisfied that the immigrant is not an undesirable person"; the consequential Amendment being to omit the word "not" before the words "an undesirable person." He said that one of the defects of the Bill was that it 795 threw the onus of proof on the wrong person—on the immigrant instead of on the authority who wished to exclude him. The immigrant under the clause as it stood would have to prove that he was not an undesirable alien, whereas the immigration officer ought to be required to prove that he was an undesirable alien. If this provision had existed in the past this country would have lost the services of the Walloons, who gave us the woollen industry; of the French, who gave us the silk industry; and of such men as Brunei, Labouchere, and Disraeli. The Bill was a reversal of the traditional policy of this country, and he submitted that such a reversal should be carried out by the ordinary rules. If a penalty was sought to be imposed on a man it was the duty of the person seeking to impose it to prove the man was in the wrong. It was a rule of logic, if not of law, that it was not possible to prove a negative, yet they were proposing to call on these aliens to prove all kinds of negatives. A very serious disability was sought to be imposed by this Bill, and surely those seeking to impose it ought to be called upon to prove that the person on whom it was to be imposed came within one of the prohibited categories of immigrants.
Amendment proposed—In page 1, line 18, after the word 'are,' to insert the word 'not.'"—(Mr. Gibson Bowles.)Question proposed, "That the word 'not' be there inserted."
§ THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir ROBERT FINLAY,) Inverness Burghs
was sorry he could not agree with his hon. friend either in his law or logic. He had told them it was not possible to prove a negative, but his hon. friend forgot it was a daily occurrence to do that in connection with the covenant of leases. The case contemplated by the sub-section was that of an appeal from the immigration officer who had decided against an immigrant to the board. Did the hon. Gentleman contend that it was for the respondent in an appeal to prove that the judgment of the Court below was right? The hon. Member would throw on those who were in possession of judgment the burden of proving the 796 soundness of the judgment, instead of leaving it to the party that appealed to prove the judgment wrong. The hon. Member seemed to think that every alien had a right to land in this country. No such light existed. It rested with every country to say whom it would receive.
§ MR. ATHERLEY-JONES (Durham, N. W.)
pointed out that cases were often appealed by way of rehearing, and then the onus was thrown on the person who first initiated proceedings. It certainly did seem to him that the proposal of the Bill was in conflict with the general principles of our criminal procedure. This Bill cast the responsibility upon the immigrant, who had no means of proving his innocence. Surely his accusers ought to establish the case against him. He hoped the right hon. and learned Gentleman would brush aside these legal subtleties and concede what had been asked for.
§ MR. COHEN (Islington, E.)
thought his right hon. and learned friend would acknowledge that, whatever the principles of law were, the constitutional practice of this country had been to admit aliens unsuspected of any criminal offence. Surely if they were now going to depart from that practice the onus of proof should be cast not upon the immigrant but upon the immigration board. For these reasons he should vote for the Amendment.
§ MR. BRIGHT (Shropshire, Owestry)
said that according to their constitutional custom it had always been held in this country that a man was innocent until he was proved guilty. This Bill was proposing a reversal of that practice, for they were laying down that a man was guilty until he had proved himself innocent. He should support the Amendment.
§ MR. CHURCHILL (Oldham)
said he regretted that the right hon. Gentleman had not been able to accept the Amendment, which was a reasonable and moderate one put forward in no factious spirit. He did not think the Attorney-General's great legal knowledge had impressed the House very much. It might be perfectly 797 true that in appealing from one Court to another the burden of proof would rest upon the appellant, but in this case the appeal was from an executive official to a Court, and when the appeal went to the Immigration Board that was the very first time the alien came in touch with the methods of procedure which were usually adopted in a Court of justice. When a sanitary inspector made a charge under the Public Health Act he had to prove that charge.
§ MR. CHURCHILL
said they were charging under this Bill an alien with being an idiot or a lunatic, or being an undesirable from being diseased, in fact, they were charging an alien with a whole page of offences any one of which would afford ground for an action at law. If they insisted upon aliens coming before the immigration board surely they ought to have a fair chance, and the same chance which was not denied to all persons in other Courts. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would reconsider his decision.
§ LORD EDMUND FITZMAURICE (Wiltshire, Cricklade)
said there was no wish on the Opposition side of the House in any way to unduly take up the time of the Committee [MINISTERIAL cries of "Oh, oh"]! He assured hon. Members opposite that the point under consideration was one of the utmost importance, and he was sure the Attorney-General would not contradict him when he said it was a matter of universal experience that in the early clauses of
§ a Bill it very often happened that very important points came up which had to be discussed at far greater length than the later stages of the Bill. By rejecting Amendments upon this subject the right hon. Gentleman was not advancing the object he had in view—namely, that of passing this Bill as quickly as possible. It was a general proposition in law that he who asserted must prove. He agreed that it occasionally happened that the burden of proof was shifted, but they were not now concerned with the exceptions but with the general proposition, and he contended that the burden of proof should be upon the officer and not upon the unfortunate alien. If the Home Secretary could hold out some hope of modifying this objectionable section it would tell considerably upon the whole discussion. They were not now simply proposing to exclude undesirable aliens in the ordinary sense, but this Bill proposed to exclude a man merely upon grounds of poverty. That was the main objection they had to this Bill. If an alien could not show that he had a substantial balance at his bankers he was liable to be put back on board ship and in some cases would not be allowed to land at all. He should have thought that this consideration alone would have led the Government to have received this Amendment in a friendly spirit. If the Government rejected every suggestion of this kind, they must not he astonished if Members sitting on this side offered a strenuous opposition.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 161; Noes, 210. (Division List No. 225.)801
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N. E.)||Bryce, Rt. Hn. James||Crean, Eugene|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Cremer, William Randal|
|Asher, Alexander||Burke, E. Haviland||Crombie, John William|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Buxton, NE(York, NR, Whitby||Crooks, William|
|Baker, Joseph Allen||Buxton, Sydney Chas. (Poplar)||Cullinan, J.|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Caldwell, James||Dalziel, James Henry|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Cameron, Robert||Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardigan)|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Delany, William|
|Benn, John Williams||Cawley, Frederick||Devlin, Chas. Ramsay (Galway)|
|Black, Alexander William||Channing, Francis Allston||Devlin, Joseph (Kilkenny, N.)|
|Blake, Edward||Churchill, Winston Spencer||Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.)|
|Boland, John||Cogan, Denis J.||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Bright, Allan Heywood||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Donelan, Captain A.|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Craig, Robt, Hunter (Lanark)||Doogan, P. C.|
|Duffy, William J.||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington)||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Eibank, Master of||Leng, Sir John||Roche, Augustine (Cork)|
|Ellice, Capt EC (SAndrw's Bghs||Levy, Maurice||Roche, John (Galway, East)|
|Ellis, John Edward (Notts.)||Lough, Thomas||Runciman, Walter|
|Emmott, Alfred||Lundon, W.||Russell, T. W.|
|Evans, Sir F. H. (Maidstone)||Lyell, Charles Henry||Samuel, Herb. L. (Cleveland)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)?|
|Ffrench, Peter||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Findlay, Alex. (Lanark N. E.)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Seely, Maj. J. E. B. (Isle of Wight.|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||M'Crae, George||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Flynn, James Christopher||M'Kean, John||Sheehy, David|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||M'Kenna, Reginald||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Fowler, Rt. Hn. Sir Henry||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Freeman-Thomas, Captain F.||M'Laren, Sir Chas. Benjamin||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert J.||Mooney, John J.||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C R (Northants|
|Grant, Corrie,||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen||Stanhope, Hon. Philip James|
|Grey, Rt. Hn. Sir E. (Berwick)||Muldoon, John||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Hammond, John||Murphy, John||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Harcourt, Lewis||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Sullivan, Donal|
|Harwood, George||Nolan, Joseph Louth, South)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)|
|Hayter, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur D.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Toulmin, George|
|Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Ure, Alexander|
|Higham, John Sharp||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W||Wallace, Robert|
|Hutchinson, Dr. Charles Fredk.||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||O'Dowd, John||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan.|
|Jacoby, James Alfred||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Wason, J. Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Joicey, Sir James||O'Kelly, James(Roscommon, N||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Jones, David Brynmor (Swansea||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Whiteley, George (York, W. R.|
|Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Partington, Oswald||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Jordan, Jeremiah||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)||Wills, Arthur Walters(N Dorset|
|Joyce, Michael||Perks, Robert William||Wilson, Chas. Henry (Hull, W.|
|Kennedy, Vincent P (Cavan, W.||Philipps, John Wynford||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Kilbride, Denis||Power, Patrick Joseph||Woodhouse, Sir J T (Huddersf'd|
|Kitson, Sir James||Price, Robert John||Young, Samuel|
|Lamont, Norman||Priestley, Arthur|
|Langley, Batty||Rea, Russell||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Gibson Bowles and Mr. Cohen.|
|Law, Hugh Alex. (Donegal, W||Reddy, M.|
|Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Brassey, Albert||Fellowes, Rt. Hn Ailwyn Edw.|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Brodrick, Rt. Hn. St. John||Fergusson, Rt. Hn Sir J. (Man'r.|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Brymer, William Ernest||Finch, Rt. Hn. George H.|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Campbell, Rt. Hn. J A (Glasgow||Finlay, Sir R B (Inv'rn'ssB'gha|
|Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hn. H. O.||Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin Univ.||Firbank, Sir Joseph Thomas|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Carson, Rt. Hn. Sir Edw. H.||Fisher, William Hayes|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hn. Sir H.||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.||Fitzroy, Hn. Edward Algernom)|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline Fitz Roy||Cayzer, Sir Chas. William||Flannery, Sir Fortescue|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Chamberlain, Rt Hn J. A. Wore||Flower, Sir Ernest|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Chapman, Edward||Forster, Henry William|
|Balcarres, Lord||Clive, Captain Percy A.||Galloway, William Johnson|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J (Manch'r.)||Cochrane, Hn. Thos. H. A. E.||Gardner, Ernest|
|Balfour, Capt C. B. (Hornsey)||Coddington, Sir William||Garfit, William|
|Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W (Leeds)||Coghill, Douglas Harry||Gordon, Hn. J E (Elgin&Nairn)|
|Balfour, Kenneth R (Christch.||Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Gordon, Maj Evans (T'rH'mlets|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Cross, Herb Shepherd (Bolton)||Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-|
|Barry, Sir F. T. (Windsor)||Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile||Gorst, Rt. Hn. Sir John Eldon,|
|Bartley, Sir George C. T.||Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Goschen, Hn. George J.|
|Bathurst, Hn. Allen Benjamin||Davenport, William Bromley||Goulding, Edward Alfred|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Dickson, Charles Scott||Greene, H. D. (Shrewsbury)|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Greville, Hon. Ronald|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Doughty, Sir George||Guthrie, Walter Murray|
|Bigwood, James||Douglas, Rt. Hn. A. Akers-||Hain, Edward|
|Bill, Charles||Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore||Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'nd'ry|
|Bingham, Lord||Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir Wm. Hart||Hardy, L. (Kent, Ashford)|
|Bond, Edward||Egerton Hon. A. de Tatton||Hare, Thomas Leigh|
|Boulnois, Edmund||Fardell, Sir T. George||Hay, Hon. Claude George|
|Heath, Sir Jas. (Staffords. N W||Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Sharpe, Wm. Edward T.|
|Heaton, John Henniker||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Shaw-Stewart, Sir H (Renfrew|
|Helder, Augustus||Milvain, Thomas||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.||Mitchell, Edw. (Fermanagh, N||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Hoare, Sir Samuel||Mitchell, Wm. (Burnley)||Smith, Rt Hn J Parker (Lanarks|
|Hogg, Lindsay||Morgan, D. J. Walthamstow)||Stanley, Edward J. (Somerset)|
|Hope, J. F. (SheffieldBrightside||Morpeth, Viscount||Stanley, Rt. Hn. Lord (Lancs.)|
|Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||Morrison, James Archibald||Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart|
|Howard, J. (Kent, Faversham||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Hozier, Hn. James Henry Cecil||Mount, William Arthur||Stroyan, John|
|Hunt, Rowland||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Strutt, Hn. Charles Hedley|
|Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.)||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Jeffreys, Rt. Hn. Arthur Fred||Palmer, Sir Walter (Salisbury)||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Kimber, Sir Henry||Parker, Sir Gilbert||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Knowles, Sir Lees||Pease, Herb. Pike (Darlington||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.|
|Lambton, Hon. Fredk. Wm.||Peel, Hn. Wm. R. Wellesley||Tuff, Charles|
|Laurie, Lieut.-General||Percy, Earl||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Law, Andrew Bonar(Glasgow)||Pierpoint, Robert||Turnour, Viscount|
|Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Vincent, Col Sir C. E. H (Sheffield|
|Lawson, Hn. H L. W. (Mile End||Plummer, Sir Walter R.||Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir Wm. H.|
|Lee, Arthur H (Hants. Fareham)||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Welby, Lt.-Col. A C E (Taunton|
|Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Pretyman, Ernest George||Welby, Sir Charles G. E (Notts.)|
|Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Wharton, Rt. Hn. John Lloyd|
|Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S.||Purvis, Robert||Whiteley, H. (Ashton undLyne|
|Llewellyn, Evan Henry||Pym, C. Guy||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.||Rankin, Sir James||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham||Rasch, Sir Frederic Carne||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S||Reid, James (Greenock)||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Lowe, Francis William||Remnant, James Farquharson||Wilson-Todd, Sir W. H. (Yorks)|
|Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Renshaw, Sir Chares Bine||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R (Bath|
|Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft||Ridley, S. Forde||Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson|
|Lucas, Reginald J (Portsmouth||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Chas. T.||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart|
|Lyttelton, Rt. Hn. Alfred||Robertson, Herb. (Hackney)||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Macdona, John Cumming||Rollit, Sir Albert Kaye||Wylie, Alexander|
|Maconoche, A. W.||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert||Wyndham-Quin, Col. W. H.|
|M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinburgh, W||Round, Rt. Hon. James||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Malcolm, Ian||Royds, Clement Molyneux||Younger, William|
|Manners, Lord Cecil||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Marks, Harry Hananel||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Viscount Valentia.|
|Martin, Richard Biddulph||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford|
|Maxwell, Rt Hn Sir H. E. Wigt'n||Samuel, Sir H. S. (Limehouse|
|Melville, Beresford Valentine||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.|
|Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln|
§ MR. ATHERLEY-JONES
said that his object in moving the Amendment standing in his name was that the immigrants should know the facts so that they might appeal to the immigration board, because it was upon the latter to finally decide whether the immigrants were to be allowed to land. Of course, it was obviously necessary that the immigrants, poor, uneducated persons, who were not allowed to land, should know the grounds for that decision of the immigration officer, and the procedure they should take to appeal against that decision. It probably would be said that that was a matter that could be dealt with by rules to be authorised under this Bill. He had the strongest objections to what he could not help regarding as a very slovenly method of procedure. A very eminent
§ draftsman told him the other day that he attributed in no small degree the failure of certain. Acts to the fact that important matters were left to rules, made by Departments, for which the draftsmen was not responsible. Why should matters of capital importance be left to the Home Secretary's discretion, and to what rules regarding them he might sanction? That was a derogation of the powers of the House. He could not find any precedent for a matter of this kind being left to rules to be made by a Department. He had always found the principle embodied in the Act itself. He was sure that the Home Secretary would assent to the principle of his Amendment. He could not think that the right hon. Gentleman would have any objection to allowing it to be put into the Bill rather 803 than relegating it to his Department over which the House had no control. Again, there was no provision in the Bill that the rules should be laid on the Table of the House. He begged to move.
In page 1, line 20, at the end, to insert the words—(3) It shall be the duty of the immigration officer, when he has withheld leave to land as aforesaid, to notify to the master of the ship and to any immigrant to whom he has so withheld leave the ground or grounds upon which he has so withheld leave and that such master or immigrant may appeal therefrom to the immigration authority of the port.'"—(Mr. Atherley-Jones.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. AKERS DOUGLAS,) Kent, St. Augustine's
said he had no objection in principle to the proposal of the hon. and learned Gentleman. There was no doubt that instructions would be given to the immigration officer to tell the immigrant and the master of the ship the ground or grounds of the rejection of the former, and that they might appeal. But that was purely a matter of procedure, and could be better dealt with by rules and general instructions to the immigration officer than by statute. It was hardly worth while to encumber the Bill with a sub-section when what was desired could be accomplished by instructions or rules. He could not accept the words here, but words to the same effect might be added on the second clause.
§ MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)
said he was glad to hear the Home Secretary adopt such a conciliatory spirit. As the right hon. Gentleman seemed to invite the expression of the wishes of the House on the subject, he should like to say that there ought to be, on the face of the Bill, some direction of the kind suggested in the Amendment. It would be much more prudent to put a direction in the Bill which anyone could understand that anyone empowered to exclude an alien should assign the reason for which his exclusion was ordered, not only with a view to give information to the immigrant and the master of the ship, but because the Bill was going to 804 be the declaration of the policy of the Government. It would be satisfactory to have, on the face of the Act itself, a declaration, to be read in the sight of all men, that it was the right of the immigrant and the master of the ship to know the ground on which the former was refused leave to land. He quite appreciated what the Home Secretary said, that it might be possible to effect the purpose by fewer words and in another place; only let it be understood that in some way or other it would be on the face of the Act.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
said he agreed with the right hon. Gentleman opposite that it would be a convenient and a right thing that there should be in the Bill an indication of the grounds of exclusion of the immigrant. The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary had stated that in Clause 2 words would be introduced which would provide that the immigration officer should specify the ground or grounds on which the immigrant was rejected. That would, he thought, meet every purpose. The extremely unsatisfactory condition of the Statute-book was often due to the fact that they went into too great details in their Acts of Parliament.
§ MR. LOUGH (Islington, W.)
congratulated the Home Secretary on the conciliatory disposition the right hon. Gentleman had manifested in his desire to accelerate the passage of the Bill. He wished to know if the document to be delivered by the immigration officer to the immigrant, giving his reasons for exclusion, would also contain a statement that the immigrant had a right of appeal to the immigration board? They ought to remember that these transactions were being carried on with people who were ignorant of our language and our forms of procedure, and who laboured under every disadvantage.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
said that the statute could not be cumbered with all these details. It was quite enough to state the grounds of exclusion.
§ MR. ATHERLEY-JONES
said that under these circumstances he would withdraw his Amendment, reserving his right 805 of criticism of the Home Secretary's Amendment when introduced.
§ MR. RUNCIMAN (Dewsbury)
asked if the right hon. Gentleman was going to exclude any reference to the master of the ship? He appealed to the Home Secretary that, in bringing in his Amendment to Clause 2, he should let the master of the ship know in writing the grounds for excluding the immigrants.
§ MR. CHURCHILL
asked if the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, would insert words in his Amendment which would embody the substantial meaning of the Amendment of his hon. and learned friend.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
was understood to say that there was no necessity for encumbering the statute with all these details.
§ MR. LOUGH
said that the Home Secretary's concession did undoubtedly cover the essence of the Amendment of the hon. and learned Member for North-West Durham: which was that the document to be handed to the immigrant should contain two things—a statement of the reasons why he was not to be allowed to land, and, secondly, that he had a right of appeal. Now the Attorney-General appeared to be inclined to withdraw that concession.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
said he would never dream of withdrawing any concession made by his right hon. friend the Home Secretary.
§ MR. CHURCHILL
asked if the right hon. Gentleman would tell the Committee clearly what was to be inserted in the document? Were the substance of the reasons for exclusion and the knowledge of the right of appeal to be made clearly known to the immigrant?
§ MR. AKERS- DOUGLAS
said that he might point out that every concession he had made—and he had made three or four—had always led to a further expansion of demands and to a lengthened debate.
§ MR. CHURCHILL
asked if the right hon. Gentleman would undertake to insert words to provide that the alien should know the ground on which he was refused admission, and also that he had the right of appeal.
§ MR. DALZIEL (Kirkcaldy Burghs)
said the Bill was before the Committee to he discussed, and it was the duty of Ministers to take advantage of the suggest ons of hon. Members for the improvement of the Bill. They did not accept any concession of the right hon. Gentleman as a favour. The Amendment asked for two things which ought to be granted. An immigrant who might not know the English language might be objected to by the immigration officer. By the way, they did not know what the qualifications of that gentleman were to be; yet he was to sit in judgment on thousands of people. An immigrant might be rejected without any adequate cause, and he should be informed what the reasons for rejection were and that he had the right of appeal. What was the objection? Was he to be smuggled back without any knowledge that he had the right to appeal? That was unfair to the immigrant, unfair to the shipowner and the master of the ship, and unfair to the House of Commons. The Amendment was a very modest one and ought to be accepted without a moment's delay. Did the Government seriously contend that their object was to keep the information suggested from the immigrant? He did not suppose that the right hon. Gentleman would be a party to any such unjust proceeding. The right hon. Gentleman had inserted the right of appeal in the Bill, and why should not the immigrant be informed he had such a right? It could not interfere with the object of the Bill, and he appealed to the right hon. Gentleman to provide some machinery whereby an immigrant who was rejected should be informed he had the right to appeal.
§ MR. ATHERLEY-JONES
asked if the Home Secretary had not stated that the immigrant should be informed of the grounds on which he was rejected, and also that he had the right to appeal.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
said the immigrant would be informed of the grounds on which he was refused admission; but it was his own strong impression that as regarded the appeal it would be better to have notices in different parts of the ship, in language which the immigrant could understand. He must respectfully protest when the Government made a concession against all sorts of details, which could be better discussed later, being dragged in.
§ MR. WALLACE (Perth)
asked if the grounds on which an immigrant were rejected were to be given to him in English, which he might not understand.
§ SIE ROBERT FINLAY
said that every effort would be made to have the reasons properly interpreted to the immigrant.
§ MR. ATHERLEY-JONES
asked if the Attorney-General knew of any substantial objection to informing the immigrant that he had the right to appeal.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
said he would certainly consider the matter. His impression was that the right of appeal should be stated to exist by some form of notice throughout the ship.
§ MAJOR SEELY (Isle of Wight)
said that the Home Secretary gave his hon. friend to understand that he agreed to the principle of the Amendment and merely suggested that it should be moved on Clause 2. Now the Attorney-General stated he did not agree that an immigrant should be told that he had the right to appeal. There was a direct conflict of opinion between the two right hon. Gentlemen.
§ MR. AKERS-DOUGLAS
said he must beg the hon. Gentleman's pardon. He was distinctly confirmed by what the Attorney-General had said. He accepted the principle and said it would be considered when it was brought up again. They were very anxious to meet hon. Gentlemen opposite, but they would not be impelled to make further concessions if this were the spirit in which they were to be received.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. TENNANT (Berwickshire)
said the Amendment he desired to move was a corollary to that which had just been discussed. They did not as yet know the composition of the board to be set up, and it was conceivable that a decision might be given which was unfair and unjust to the immigrant and to the master of the ship. It was because he wished to give the shipowners some sort of appeal that he moved his Amendment. If they knew exactly what the constitution of the board was to be, perhaps the Amendment might not be necessary. It was very difficult to make the Bill a good Bill, but he and his hon. friends were endeavouring to do what they could in that direction, although the process was not easy. It might be said that the Amendment, if adopted, would entail too great delay. There might be something in that; but some sort of appeal should be provided, and no better tribunal could be proposed than a Divisional Court. He begged to move.
In page 1, line 20, at the end, to insert the words 'and' where leave to land is also withheld by the Immigration Board, the master of the ship may appeal to a Divisional Court of the Kind's Bench Division or, where such Court cannot Le formed within seven days of the notice of such appeal to a Judge of the said division, and such Court or Judge shall, if satisfied that the immigrant is not an undesirable immigrant within the meaning of this section, give leave to land, and leave so given shall operate as the leave of the immigration officer.'"—(Mr. Tennant.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
said he hoped the Committee would not accept the Amendment for the very reason indicated by the hon. Gentleman himself. If leave to appeal were given in all cases, as the Amendment advocated, it might lead to very great delay. A more serious question would arise as to the liability of the shipowner to maintain the immigrant pending the appeal. If there was to be an appeal there should be a stay of execution; then the immigrant should be kept in the country. But who was to maintain him? Was it the shipowner? Or was the general taxpayer to find board 809 and lodging for every immigrant who chose to exercise the right this Amendment would confer? He respectfully submitted that the Amendment was an impossible one, and would seriously hamper the working of the Act. The very essence of the matter was despatch. Under all these circumstances he hoped the hon. Gentleman would not press his Amendment.
§ MR. NUSSEY (Pontefract)
said he quite appreciated the objections that the Attorney-General had taken, but, on the other hand, Parliament would be giving under this Bill a power to the immigration boards unknown to English law. He therefore thought there should be some appeal.
§ MR. PEEL (Manchester, S.)
said his only objection was that the Amendment did not go far enough. He could not see, if there was an appeal to the Court of King's Bench, why they should not go higher, to the Court of Appeal and to the House of Lords.
§ MR. DALZIEL
expressed the opinion that the arguments of the right hon. and learned Attorney-General were directed to a matter which was not germane to the Amendment. The Amendment asked that the master of the ship should have a right to appeal, and if he liked to provide food and lodging for the immigrant while the appeal was pending that was a matter which concerned himself alone. The point of the Amendment was that there might be an immigration officer who did not understand the language of the immigrants, and that if he told a certain number to stand aside they ought to have a right to appeal. There was no guarantee of the capacity of the immigration board, and therefore there should be an appeal. He suggested that an appeal to the local police Court would answer every point made by the right hon. and learned Gentleman, and he put it to the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill whether the Amendment was not a reasonable one.
§ MR. SEELY (Lincoln)
said he quite agreed with the Attorney-General that there were objections to this Amendment, but he thought it would be convenient if 810 the hon. and learned Gentleman told the Committee how he proposed to arrange the matter unless there was going to be a system of appeal. Under this Bill they were going to set up immigration boards all over the country, which would have to deal with difficult and complicated questions as to the character of the immigrants and the general principles upon which they were to be received and registered. He submitted that there must be some appeal—some regulations by which the decision of these boards must be supervised, controlled, and assimilated one with another. If the Attorney-General objected to this proposal perhaps he would explain how an immigrant or a master of a ship who considered the decision of the Immigration Board was not just, could get it supervised.
§ MR. RUNCIMAN
said there was no reason why the judgment of the local Recorder should not be regarded as a sufficient Court of Appeal. The Attorney-General did not seem to appreciate the fact that immense numbers of men were brought, say, to the Port of Hull, and that there must arise doubtful cases in which it was difficult to say whether a man was a lunatic or an idiot, whether he had sufficient means of subsistence, or whether he was a person who could he properly dealt with under the extradition laws. Suppose a rule were laid down by the immigration board it might be followed for all time, and prove absolutely ruinous to the trade of the port. If that should be the case, was it fair that the trade of the whole district should be jeopardised by the rule of the immigration board, merely because the right of appeal was refused. He suggested that there was one great safeguard against frivolous appeals, which was that the master of a ship would not bring up any case unnecessarily, because the costs of the appeal would in most cases amount to more than the £100 fine under the Bill. It would therefore be only very serious cases which would be taken up. The Government ought to consider these possibilities, because the judgment of the three business men, administrative gentlemen or magistrates, whichever they might be, might be so serious that not only the 811 master of the ship but the immigrant himself ought to have the right of appeal.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON (Tower Hamlets, Poplar)
thought there ought to be something in the nature of an appeal if the immigration board was to be the official I authority set up to decide these matters, because the board might be efficient or inefficient. But whether it was efficient or not, it was not a judicial body, and therefore there ought to be some appeal from its decisions. He asked the Government to consider this point, and, before the Bill passed through Committee, to see that some power of appeal was incorporated in it. He trusted the Government would take notice of the general feeling on both sides of the House and give a promise to that effect. As the matter at present stood he should vote for the Amendment.
§ MR. EMMOTT (Oldham)
pointed out that there might be great laxity at one port and great stringency at another, and that in such an event the immigration traffic would be turned to the port at which the laxity existed. He thought, therefore, some Court of Appeal was necessary.
§ MR. CHURCHILL
desired to add one word, which was that they were not seeking to safeguard the rights of immigrants, because they knew in some quarters, at least, they were regarded as sewage. This was an appeal not on behalf of the immigrants, but on behalf of the shipping companies, and the shipping companies, if they chose, could exercise it at their own expense. By rejecting this Amendment the Government were simply refusing to their own countrymen the right of appeal to the Courts of justice of this country as to the interpretation of an Act of Parliament.
§ MR. LOUGH
submitted that as the Home Secretary had power under Subsection 4 to exempt certain ships from the operation of the clause other ships might have some reason to complain of the way in which they were treated, and there ought to be some right of appeal. He agreed that the exact wording of the Amendment was not the best possible, but he thought the Com- 812 mittee were practically unanimous in the view that something in the way of an appeal ought to be provided for hard cases. The question of expense would have to be dealt with. In America a right of appeal was given to both shipping companies and immigrants. In the-interests of the immigrant boards themselves a right of appeal should be given. It would be treating the boards with, absolute contempt if some authority were not placed over them to guide them when they made mistakes, and they would become objects of contempt and go out of use because of their inherent weakness and rottenness.
§ THE PRIME MINISTER AND FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
said there appeared to be a consensus of opinion in the Committee that the Amendment would not work. Even its strongest supporters admitted that it would not be of any use in the Bill. But the strangest argument that had been put forward was that of the hon. Member for West Islington, who said that it would be an insult to these boards if some authority were not placed over their heads to guide them in the right way.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said he was almost as much at variance with that version of the argument as with the other. Hon. Members had rested almost the whole of their case on the fact that the process would be so costly that it would never be used.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said it was the first time he had ever heard it suggested that 813 the costliness of the law was an advantage. Hon. Members now said that the process would be so expensive—and he was not sure they were not correct—that the right of appeal would be largely illusory, because only the rich would be able to avail themselves of it, and they would use it only on special occasions. He did not think that that was a good argument in favour of the Amendment. He thought hon. Members opposite regarded the Bill too much as a Bill for dealing with legal rights rather than as one dealing in a very expeditious manner with a matter of administration. When they were dealing with matters of administration and not with matters of civil rights convenience and rapidity were far more important than that nice uniformity which hon. Members opposite seemed so greatly to favour. They appeared to regard it as a terrible calamity that a slightly different procedure should be adopted in Hull than that which was adopted, say, in the Port of London. He thought it would be unfortunate, hut he had two observations to make upon it. The first was that there was a machinery under the Bill by which the Home Office could see that such divergence of practice should not take place, and the second was that by common consent we had submitted to the greatest divergence in the administration of the criminal law as between Judges without any attempt to produce uniformity by a Court of Criminal Appeal. The one argument against the Bill that had been hammered in day after day by hon. Gentlemen opposite was that the Bill was unworkable, and the Amendments they sought to introduce were intended to make it unworkable. [OPPOSITION cries of "Oh!"] If hon. Gentlemen opposite regarded that expression of opinion as offensive he would withdraw it and restate the proposition by saying that their Amendments were intended to make the Bill so theoretically perfect a piece of mechanism that in this rough world, where rapidity of procedure was the greatest desideratum, the machinery would not carry out the object for which it was intended. He earnestly pressed on the Committee not unduly to complicate this measure by a system of appeal which was very costly in our ordinary legal system, where it was, 814 unfortunately, necessary, and which-would be both cumbrous and costly in this Bill where, in his judgment, it was not necessary.
§ MR. ASQUITH (Fifeshire, E.)
said that although the Amendment might possibly be improved in form, and be better introduced in another place, yet there was a general feeling that this was a matter in which some right of appeal ought to be provided. He did not agree with the right hon. Gentleman that the questions which would have to be submitted to these immigration boards would be substantially administrative questions. He thought they would be called upon to deal with serious and difficult questions of evidence, and even with questions of law, and the Government had themselves so far acknowledged that that would be the case that, in the course of the debate on the Second Reading, they agreed that one of the members of the board should in all cases be a lawyer, so that there should be at least one person competent to deal with the questions of evidence that must arise. Then the right hon. Gentleman said that the matter was sufficiently safeguarded by the powers of the Home Secretary Where in the Bill were they to find those powers
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
I think my right hon. friend was referring to the provisions in Section 8, Sub-section 4. The right hon. Gentleman opposite will agree with me that the Home Office, if there was any reason to suppose that the immigration boards were going wrong, could send round a circular pointing out that they were taking an erroneous view of the law with regard to these matters, and it would be the duty of the boards to conform to the intimation from the Home Secretary.
§ MR. ASQUITH
said it was quite true that Section 8, Sub-section 4, did give a 815 right of appeal to the Home Secretary in certain cases, but it was quite clear that the very thing they were discussing was left out, viz., whether the board had come to a right decision as to the desirability of a person.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I never said that the Home Secretary had powers under the Bill to act as a Court of Appeal upon all the questions that might arise. What I said was that the Home Office had power to produce that general uniformity of procedure, the absence of which was regarded by hon. Gentlemen opposite as a serious blot on the Bill.
§ MR. ASQUITH
said they were getting at it by degrees. Section 8, Sub section 4, at any rate, was out of the question. The right hon. Gentleman fell back on what he assumed to be some general, undefined, latent constitutional power in the Home Office to keep the tribunals of the country in proper order. He knew of no such power. The circulars sent from the Home Office were merely pieces of advice, and there was no obligation on the part of those receiving them to follow them. He remembered one particular case, viz., the circular as to the expediency of allowing people ou on bail. The majority of the Courts of petty session studiously disregarded the circular, and he saw no reason to think that these immigration boards, which would be clothed, unless some right of appeal was given, with plenary and indisputable authority in all these matters, would any more feel bound by a circular from the Home Office. In view of the complexity of the questions that might be submitted to these boards he thought the Government ought to consider the desirability of a right of appeal being given, and he suggested that his hon. friend might withdraw his Amendment if the Government would undertake on Clause 2, which defined the constitution of the immigration board, to consider whether there should not be a right of appeal.
§ MR. TENNANT
said he did not know whether the right hon. Gentleman was going to accept that suggestion.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman the 816 Member for East Fife was that the Government should find a plan for doing what, in the opinion of the Government, was very questionable, and which would introduce dangers and difficulties which would make the Bill more complex.
§ MR. TENNANT
said he was very anxious not to take a division if the result would be that his proposal would be ruled out of order on Clause 2. That would be the effect of taking a division now and he would rather withdraw his Amendment. [Cries of "No, no!"] He disclaimed the innuendo thrown out by the Prime Minister that the object of his Amendment was to devise machinery which would make the working of the Bill so difficult that it would break down. That was not his desire, because he wished to make the Bill as good as it could be made. He asked leave to withdraw his Amendment.
§ MR. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD
said that in the United States there were more immigrants dealt with by many thousands than were ever likely to have to be dealt with by the immigration officers in this country. When an alien was rejected in the United States he had a right of appeal from the officer to a board, and if he wished for a further appeal he could go to the Superintendent of Immigration, and after that the Secretary of State was able to review the decision. He wished to point out that in the United States all these examinations were private matters, and it was especially provided that in the instances of inquiry into the case of a man suspected of being a convict or of a woman of being a prostitute, they should not be taken in open Court. This was a matter for the country itself to decide, and in the interests of everybody it was done privately and could be reviewed by the Secretary of State. This Bill, if passed into law, would give exactly the same protection in this country. He trusted that this Amendment would be negatived upon its merits and the point got rid of.
§ MR. SEELY
hoped the Attorney-General would consider how this immigration board could be brought into a similar position to a Court of petty sessions. It seemed to him that 817 there ought to be some arrangement by which, if a board in Hull gave a certain decision and another board in Grimsby gave a totally different decision upon exactly the same facts, the question could be raised, and in a Court of petty sessions that could be done. He understood that these immigration boards would be absolutely independent bodies.
§ MR. SEELY
said that what the hon. Member for Liverpool had stated might be a very suitable arrangement for the United States, but he was not very keen about introducing American principles into this country. He would like the Attorney-General to tell them whether there was any means of supervising the decisions of these boards. When a man was unjustly treated by one of these boards he should have a right of appeal.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
said he did not think the hon. Member was correct in saying that there was no check whatever upon the proceedings of these boards, because there was a provision in Clause 8 for securing uniformity. The Prime Minister had said that there seemed to be a general consent that the Amendment was impossible, and he had nothing to add to what the right hon. Gentleman had said. If any satisfactory proposal could be made upon a subsequent clause the Government would, of course, take it into consideration.
§ MR. LEVY (Leicestershire, Lough borough)
said they did not know whether the boards suggested under the Bill would be removable or not, and yet they would have great powers, possibly enabling them to seize a vessel under certain circumstances. Supposing one of these boards ordered certain immigrants to be taken back on board and the shipowner refused to take them back again to the country from which they embarked. Would these boards have power to seize that vessel? Were they going to give these boards, wrhich were being set up at the dictates of individuals who represented certain constituencies which were affected, the power to seize British ships. It would be very dangerous to allow such drastic powers to such boards.
MR. GIBSON BOWLES
said upon this occasion he agreed with the Attorney-General's attitude towards the Amendment, although the reasons he had given for taking this course were not altogether satisfactory. The last subsection of Clause 8 gave absolutely despotic power to the Home Secretary, who might be succeeded by some one less capable than the present Home Secretary, in whom he had the greatest confidence. He thought this was a very dangerous power to put into the hands of a Secretary of State.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 176; Noes, 239. (Division List No. 226.)821
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N. E.)||Buxton, Sydney Chas. (Poplar||Devlin, Chas. Ramsay (Galway|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Caldwell, James||Devlin, Joseph (Kilkenny, K.|
|Asher, Alexander||Cameron, Robert||Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.|
|Asquith, Rt Hn. Herbert Henry||Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H||Donelan, Captain A.|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Cawley, Frederick||Doogan, P. C.|
|Barran, Rowland Hirst||Charming, Francis Allston||Duffy, William J.|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Cheetham, John Frederick||Duncan, J. Hastings|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Cogan, Denis J.||Edwards, Frank|
|Black, Alexander William||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Elibank, Master of|
|Blake, Edward||Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark||Ellice, Capt E C. (SAndrw's Bghs|
|Boland, John||Crean, Eugene||Ellis, John Edward (Notts.)|
|Brand, Hon. Arthur G.||Cremer, William Randal||Emmott, Alfred|
|Bright, Allan Heywood||Crombie, John William||Evans, Sir F. H. (Maidstone)|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlmson||Crooks, William||Eve, Harry Trelawney|
|Bryce, Rt. Hn. James||Cullinan, J.||Farrell, James Patrick|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Dalziel, James Henry||Ffrench, Peter|
|Burke, E. Haviland||Davies, M. Vaughan(Cardigan)||Findlay, Alex. (Lanark, N. E.)|
|Buxton, N E (York, N R, Whitty||Delany, William||Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Roche, Augustine (Cork)|
|Flynn, James Christopher||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Roche, John (Galway, East)|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Russell, T. W.|
|Fowler, Rt. Hn. Sir Henry||M'Crae, George||Samuel, Herb. L. (Cleveland)|
|Freeman-Thomas, Captain F.||M'Kean, John||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||M'Kenna, Reginald||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Furness, Sir Christopher||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln).|
|Gladstone, Rt Hn. Herbert John||M'Laren, Sir Chas. Benjamin||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe||Sheehy, David|
|Grant, Corrie||Mooney, John J.||Shipman, Dr. John B.|
|Grey, Rt. Hn. Sir E. (Berwick)||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire|
|Hammond, John||Morley, Rt. Hn. John (Montrose||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Harcourt, Lewis||Muldoon, John||Spencer, Rt Hn C. R (Northants).|
|Harmsworth, R. Leicester||Murphy John||Stanhope, Hon. Phi James|
|Harwood, George||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Nolan, Col John P. (Galway. N.||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Sullivan, Donal|
|Hemphill, Rt. Hn. Charles H.||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Thomas, David A. (Merthyr|
|Higham, John Sharp||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)|
|Hutchinson, Dr. Chas. Fredk.||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Ure, Alexander|
|Hutton, Alfred E. (Morley)||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W||Wallace, Robert|
|Jacoby, James Alfred||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Joicey, Sir James||O'Dowd, John||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan|
|Jones, David Brynmor (Swansea||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Jones, Leif (Appleby)||O'Kelly, Jas. (Roscommon, N.||White, George (Norfolk)|
|Jordan, Jeremiah||O'Malley, William||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Mara, James||Whiteley, George (York, W. R.|
|Kennedy, Vincent P. (Cavan, W.||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Whitley, J. H. Halifax)|
|Kilbride, Denis||Partington, Oswald||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Kitson, Sir James||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)||Wills, Arthur Walters(N Dorset|
|Lambert, George||Perks, Robert William||Wilson, Chas. Henry (Hull, W.|
|Lamont, Norman||Philipps, John Wynford||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.).|
|Law, Hugh Alex. (Donegal, W.)||Power, Patrick Joseph||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.|
|Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall)||Price, Robert John||Woodhouse, Sir J T (Huddersf'd|
|Layland-Barratt, Francis||Priestley, Arthur||Young, Samuel|
|Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington)||Rea, Russell||Younger, William|
|Leng, Sir John||Reddy, M.||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Levy, Maurice||Redmond, John E. (Waterford|
|Lough, Thomas||Rickett, J. Compton||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Tennant and Major Seely.|
|Lundon, W.||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Boscawen, Arthur Griffith||Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Bousfield, William Robert||Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Bowles, T. Gibson (King'sLynn||Dalrymple, Sir Charles|
|Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hn. H. O.||Brassey Albert||Davenport, William Bromley|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Dickson, Charles Scott|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir H||Brown, Sir Alex H. (Shropsh.)||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline Fitz Roy||Brymer, William Ernest||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Burdett-Coutts, W.||Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Butcher, John George||Doughty, Sir George|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Campbell, Rt. Hn. J A (Glasgow||Douglas, Rt. Hn. A. Akers-|
|Balcarres, Lord||Campbell, J. HM. (Dublin Univ.||Doxford, Sir Wm. Theodore|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r||Carson, Rt. Hn. Sir Edw. H.||Egerton, Hn. A. de Tatton|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.||Fardell, Sir T. George|
|Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W (Leeds)||Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Fellowes, Rt. Hn. Ailwyn Edw-|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christen.||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J (Man'cr|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. Birm.||Finch, Rt. Hon. George H.|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Chamberlain, Rt Hn J. A (Worc.||Finlay, Sir R B. (Inv'rn'ss B'ghs).|
|Barry, Sir F. T. (Windsor)||Chapman, Edward||Firbank, Sir Joseph Thomas|
|Hartley, Sir George C. T.||Clive, Captain Percy A.||Fisher, William Hayes|
|Bathurst, Hn. Allen Benjamin||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Coddington, Sir William||Fitzroy, Hn. Edward Algernon|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Coghill, Douglas Harry||Flannery, Sir Fortescue|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Flower, Sir Ernest|
|Bigwood, James||Colston, Chas Edw. H. Athole||Forster, Henry William|
|Bill, Charles||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Galloway, William Johnson|
|Bingham, Lord||Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Gardner, Ernest|
|Blandell, Colonel Henry||Cripps, Charles Alfred||Garfit, William|
|Bond, Edward||Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Gibbs, Hon. A. G. H.|
|Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin&Nairn||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.||Round, Rt. Hon. James|
|Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Gordon, Maj Evans (T'rH'mlets||Lowe, Francis William||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowesoft||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford|
|Goschen, Hn. George Joachim||Lucas, Reginald J (Portsmouth)||Samuel, Sir H. S. (Limehouse|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury||Macdona, John Gumming||Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col Edw. J.|
|Grenfell, William Henry||Maconochie, A. W.||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Greville, Hon. Ronald||M'lver, Sir Lews (Edinburgh, W||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Guthrie, Walter Murray||Macolm, Ian||Shaw-Stewart, Sir H (Renfrew)|
|Hain, Edward||Manners, Lord Cecil||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.||Marks, Harry Hananel||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Hambro, Charles Eric||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'nderry||Maxwell, Rt. Hn. Sir H E (Wigt'n||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Hardy, L. (Kent, Ashford)||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Smith, Rt Hn J Parker (Lanarks|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||Middlemore, J. Throgmorton||Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset)|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Stanley, Rt. Hn. Lord (Lanes.)|
|Heath, Sir J. (Staffords. N. W.)||Milner, Rt. Hn. Sir Fredk. G.||Stewart, Sir M. J. M'Taggart|
|Heaton, John Henniker||Milvain, Thomas||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Helder, Augustus||Mitchell, Edw. (Fermanagh, N.||Strutt, Hn. Charles Hedley|
|Henderson, Sir A. (Stafford, W||Mitchell, William (Burnley)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Hickman, Sir Alfred||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Taylor, Austin (East Toxtetb)|
|Hoare, Sir Samuel||Morgan, D. J. (Waltbamstow)||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Hogg, Lindsay||Morpeth, Viscount||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.|
|Hope, J F (Sheffield, Brightside||Morrison, James Archibald||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer||Tuff, Charles|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||Mount, William Arthur||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Howard, J. (Kent, Faversham||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Turnour, Viscount|
|Hozier, Hn. James Henry Cecil||Murray, Chas. J. (Coventry)||Vincent, Col. Sir C E H (Sheffield)|
|Hunt, Rowland||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.)||Palmer, Sir Walter (Salisbury)||Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir Wm. H.|
|Jameson, Major J. Eustace||Parker, Sir Gilbert||Welby, Lt.-Col A C E. (Taunton)|
|Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Pease, Herb. Pike (Darlington||Welby, Sir Chas. G. E. (Notts.)|
|Jeffreys, Rt. Hn. Arthur Fred.||Peel, Hn. Wm. R. Wellesley||Wharton, Rt. Hn. John Lloyd|
|Kenyon, Hon. G. T. (Denbigh)||Percy, Earl||Whiteley, H. (Ashtonund. Lyne|
|Kenyon-Slaney, Rt. Hn. Col. W||Pierpoint, Robert||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Kerr, John||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Kimber, Sir Henry||Plummer, Sir Walter R.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|King, Sir Henry Seymour||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Wilson, A. Stanley (York. E. R.)|
|Knowles, Sir Lees||Pretyman, Ernest George||Wilson-Todd, Sir W. H. (Yorks.|
|Lambton, Hn. Frederick Wm.||Pryce-Jones, Lt.-Col. Edward||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E R (Bath)|
|Laurie, Lieut-General||Purvis, Robert||Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson|
|Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)||Rankin, Sir James||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart|
|Lawrence, Sir J. (Monmouth)||Rasch, Sir Frederic Carne||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Reid, James (Greenock)||Wylie, Alexander|
|Lawson, Hn. H. L. W (Mile End)||Remnant, James Farquharson||Wyndham-Quin, Col. W. H.|
|Lee, Arthur H (Hants, Fareham||Renshaw, Sir Charles Bine|
|Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Renwick, George||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Viscount Valentia.|
|Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage||Ridley, S. Forde|
|Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S.||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Llewellyn, Evan Henry||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)|
|Lockwood, Lieut.-Col. A. R.||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Long, Col Chas. W (Evesham)||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
§ MR. ATHERLEY-JONES
said that the next Amendment standing in his name was to leave out Sub-section 3 of Clause 1. His objection to it was that it was incoherent, unintelligible, and unworkable. Sub-Section (a) of Sib-clause 3 proposed that an immigrant should be excluded from this country as undesirable who had not in his possession, or was not in a position to obtain, the means of decently supporting himself a id his dependents, if any. That was a provision unknown to the law of any other country. It was quite true
§ that there was some sort of approach to it in one or two of our Colonies, and some more approximate provision in the law of the United States; but even the latter did not go nearly as far as this subsection. The law of the United States required that a man or a woman who landed on their shores should not be a person who was likely to become a charge on the public funds of the country, or on the locality in which he or she landed. That threw upon the immigrant the onus of establishing to the satisfaction of the immigration officer 823 that he had got in his pocket the amount of money to support himself and his dependents, if any. But there was no stipulation a3 to the length of time for which it was necessary to support himself. Of course it would be possible for a man to show that though he was not in possession of a certain amount of money at the moment, he was in possession of a skilled trade, and that he might be able to obtain employment almost immediately.
§ This was an Amendment which raised a sharp line of contradistinction between the attitude of the Prime Minister and that of the ex-Colonial Secretary, the right hon. Member for West Birmingham. The Prime Minister, in answer to a Question put to him lately, emphatically declared that this Bill was not of a protective character, and that it was in no sense intended to shut out honest and diligent working foreigners who might find, their way to our shores. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham, on the contrary, said he hailed the advent of this measure as a step in the direction of protecting industrial labour in this country. He was disposed to think that the view entertained by the right hon. Member for West Birmingham was the true one. The clause proposed to shut out a man from landing on those shores simply because he was poor.
§ Let him ask what was the data which had been laid before the Committee from extraneous sources or from the evidence of the Royal Commission. The ex-Colonial Secretary proposed that poverty should be the ground of exclusion of foreigners. The evidence laid before the Royal Commission distinctly established that the general body of foreigners who came to this country were industrious, sober people, who seldom differed from the wage-earning classes in this country. They, in fact, compared favourably with the British wage-earning classes in these respects. It was also shown that so far as moral character was concerned they compared favourably with the British artisans. Of course, that did not arise in this subsection, because other sub-sections dealt with criminals and those who became criminals after arriving here. This sub- 824 section only dealt with people on the ground of poverty alone. He could conceive of cases in which a large number of people from foreign countries might come here, flooding the labour market, and displacing British labour; and that in those cases the Government might be justified in excluding those large numbers, or imposing some reasonable test on them. But there was no evidence to that effect. Paragraphs 129 and 131 of the Report of the Royal Commission said that there was no real competition, on the part of these foreign immigrants with British labour. On the contrary, the foreign labourers, who came here carried on new industries, such as slop-tailoring, certain classes of cabinet-making, and extensions of the cheap boot-making trade which did not exist before. The Royal Commission said on the whole they had arrived at the conclusion, after weighing the evidence on both sides, that it had not been proved that there was any serious displacement of direct skilled English labour. On the contrary, these three industries in which the aliens were engaged had been beneficial in various ways, because they had increased the demand for the consumption of goods manufactured in this country which had formerly been imported from abroad.
§ MAJOR EVANS GORDON (Tower Hamlets, Stepney)
asked what did the hon. and learned Gentleman say as to the displacement of unskilled labour?
§ MR. ATHERLEY-JONES
said that the Report of the Royal Commission said that it was impossible to say how much, unskilled labour had been displaced.
§ MR. ATHERLEY-JONES
said that the Royal Commission gave elaborate tables in which they showed the various occupations of aliens arriving in this country from Russia and neighbouring provinces in other countries—the great bulk of whom were Jews, These Jew aliens were almost entirely eDgaged in the cabinet-ma king trade, slop-tailoring—largely exported from this country—and the cheap boot-making 825 trade. So that it was perfectly clear that they did not interfere with British labour. What conclusion did he draw? Shut out unhealthy and criminal aliens in proper form and by proper machinery; but why shut out those decent, honest, industrial labourers unless they displaced English labour. The only answer was that the country supposed, as the right hon. Member for West Birmingham suggested, that these aliens were competitors with English labourers. Therefore, he contended that this measure was intended to delude the country into the belief that the Conservative Government was the champion and defender of British labour as against foreign labour. What he wished to show was that one portion of the clause as it stood, ought to be obliterated and another portion of the clause ought to be modified in certain directions at which he had hinted.
He passed on to other sub-sections of Sub-clause 3. Unless the right hon. Gentleman could state some grievance which the sub-section would deal with, he was entitled to ask the Committee to eliminate it. With regard to overcrowding, it had been established by the evidence of the Medical Officer of Health for London that it did not exist in the alien-inhabited districts to anything like the extent it did in the non-alien-inhabited districts. There was another very serious objection. The subsection would prohibit the landing of an immigrant on the ground that he had been convicted of a criminal offence. He quite agreed that if satisfactory evidence was produced that a man had been convicted of an indictable offence, it would be a proper subject for consideration as to whether he should not be excluded; but a man might have committed some trivial offence involving no moral obliquity, and that was another matter. The Bill, however, proposed that a man sentenced in any foreign country for an offence should be excluded. The Committee was entitled to know what evidence would be submitted that a person had been convicted of a criminal offence. The only two classes of evidence were a record, or the very loose evidence that might be given by one executive officer to another. He could conceive nothing more dangerous than a system 826 which depended on the statement of a Russian police officer to the officer to be appointed by the Home Secretary which did not involve any judicial responsibility. It was a violation of the elementary principles of justice; and he was amazed that right hon. Gentlemen, cherishing the same traditions as they did about the inviolability of English liberty, should propose to put it in the power of a police officer in Russia, Germany, or France, with the sanction of an official in this country, to deny the right to land.
The gravity of the proposal was even greater than that; because the sub-section stated that a man might enter if he could prove he was entering solely to avoid prosecution for a political offence. But how could he prove it? There would only be his ipse dixit that he was a political refugee, and that the Russian Government desired to capture him. He had not to satisfy any English Court only the immigration officer appointed by the Home Secretary. Then if he wished to appeal if he were rejected, the immigration officer would point to the notice in Yiddish on the ship. Who was to judge whether the offence was political or not? It was a very nice question indeed as to what was a political offence and what was not. It formed the subject of a great deal of controversy from time to time; and the deciding factor was whether it had or had not a political tinge. But that was not of general acceptance; and the legal pundit that might be appointed might be only the local attorney. He would decide whether the offence was political or not; and on his judgment the political refugee might be sent back. He had, it was true, a kind of appeal to a non-judicial board; a more extraordinary solecism in English law he had never heard of. The right of asylum in this country had always been most jealously guarded, not by our statesmen but by our Courts. According to the idea of the Attorney-General, the King's writ was not to run as regarded the immigration officer or the immigration board. He ventured to assert that the section ought to be excluded from the Bill; that a fresh section should be drawn; and that a clause should be drawn devoted entirely to the 827 question whether or not there should be exclusion on these grounds. He quite recognised how unworkable it all was, and how utterly the United states had failed to prevent the immigration of criminals into that country; but he would not object to some provision of that character. He objected, however, to the rejection of a man because he was poor. The test should be the possession of the will to work, and the physical power to work. The Bill would prevent such a man from bringing in his dependents. He asked the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill to consider whether it was not an unkindly proposal to exclude an honest and industrious alien at a time of great suffering in Eastern Europe. It was a proposal entirely contrary to all the traditions of this country, and a violation of the freedom which this country had always afforded to people of other nationalities.
In page 1, line 21, to leave out Subsection 3."—(Mr. Atherley Jones.)
§ SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
asked what course the Chairman proposed to adopt in connection with the Amendment. It proposed to leave out a large portion of the measure, and would give rise to a Second Reading debate.
The hon. Member handed me an Amendment which I thought he intended to move. It was desirable, however, that the debate should take place in detail; and the only course, therefore, is to put the first two lines of the section proposed to be omitted.
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out to the word 'immigrant' in line 22, stand part of the clause."
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said he fully recognised that this was one of the most important parts of the Bill, and suggested that for convenience of discussion it would be better to first consider the various proposals for dealing with the Sub-sections (a) and (b).
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. EMMOTT
said the Amendment he now moved opened up one of the most crucial and controversial parts of the Bill. The real question was whether poverty was to be by itself a test of an alien's coming into this country or not. Sub-section (a), the deletion of which he moved, provided that an alien should be excluded unless he could show he had the means of decently supporting himself. In his opinion the wording of the clause called for a good deal of explanation. What was, for instance, to be the test as to whether an alien had the means of decently supporting himself? These matters, however, he left to others. The question he wished to deal with was whether real harm was being done at this moment by the influx of aliens such as they had seen up to the present. He admitted that in places like Stepney there was some inconvenience. But the real question was whether evil was being done as a whole by the present influx.
pointed out that that was a question which could be more properly dealt with on Second Reading, or upon the Question that that clause stand part.
§ MR. EMMOTT
submitted that that amount of grievance rested upon a number of the aliens who came in to this country and settled here. He said he had waited to bring up this point on this particular Amendment because it was of the greatest importance that the country should know the facts. The point was what was the number of these aliens as compared with the aliens of other countries. If they took the figures of the last census they found there was a less population of aliens per thousand here than elsewhere. Compared with Germany they were only half as many, and with France only one-third. He further pointed out that in some cases these aliens, if they did not introduce new trades, at any rate developed 829 new trades; that their effect upon the question of wages, therefore, could not have been very detrimental, and that there were a fewer number of paupers among them proportionately. The Home Secretary had said this state of things was getting worse, and had put alarming figures before the Committee as to the increase of the alien population of this country. Last year the right hon. Gentleman put before the House figures as to 1903 and finally apologised for them and withdrew them. This year he had given the figures for 1904 and had stated quite accurately that 194,986 aliens came into this country from Europe. Of those 99,278 were known to be transmigrants, and 7,697 were found later to be transmigrants. In addition he deducted 21,863 seamen and that left him with a figure of 75,148, the greater proportion of whom, he said, remained and settled in this country. The figures which the Home Secretary gave were official figures and he did not object to them; but he did object to the statement that the greater proportion of the 75,000 remained and settled in this country. That was merely a pious opinion of the Home Secretary. He could not prove it. He (Mr. Emmott) would submit figures which he believed would go far to show that the argument on which the Home Secretary had rested his plea could not be relied upon.
The only means they had of knowing anything about this matter was by the census figures of 1901 as compared with previous periods. In 1901 there were in this country, according to the census returns, 67,401 more aliens than there were in 1891. What he thought the Home Secretary might have done before putting those figures before the House and deducing that argument from them, was to have compared similar figures taken in the ten years from 1891 to 1900 with the actual census returns. That he (Mr. Emmott) had done. In those ten years the total number of aliens who were not stated to be transmigrants, who came into this country—less the seamen—were 369,772 or thereabouts. The number was actually larger, because in the first two years the number who came to Newhaven were not taken into account. 830 That figure of 369,772 corresponded with the figure of 82,845 for 1904, which was the number of aliens coming into this country less the known transmigrants, and less the seamen, quoted by the Home Secretary. The Home Secretary reduced the figure of 82,000 to the figure of about 72,000 by deducting those who were afterwards found to be transmigrants, and also some two or three thousand who returned to the Continent by the help of the Jewish Board of Guardians and other bodies of that kind. Therefore, in order to make his (Mr. Emmott's figures compare with those of the Home Secretary, he reduced the 369,000 to 300,000, and he would take off 30,000 more on account of deaths, bringing it down to 270,000. According to the Home Secretary there should have been 270,000 more aliens in the country in 1901 than in 1891. The actual figures of the census were 67,401. He claimed to have shown that the Home Secretary had exaggerated at least four-fold the number of aliens who remained in this country. That was the only means of testing the reliability of such figures, and he believed it showed that the Home Secretary's argument was unreliable. The Home Secretary had treated the House with such courtesy and good temper that he was anxious not to say anything discourteous or offensive, but he was sorry that he had misled—no doubt unintentionally—so many people by quoting the figures to which he had called attention.
He believed there was no means of ascertaining what the balance of aliens who came into this country and settled there was, because there was no record of the number of aliens who went to or drifted back to the Continent. The number of those was very large. The Board of Trade, however, made a comparison of the balance inwards from Europe of all passengers, with the balance of aliens outwards to the countries out of Europe. It was assumed by the Board of Trade that the balance of passengers inward from Europe represented the net balance of aliens who came into this country from Europe. They knew positively the number of aliens on balance who left this country for countries out of Europe, and the Board of Trade regularly made the comparison. In the ten years to which he 831 had already referred the excess in from Europe was 508,000, and the excess out to non-European countries was 329,000, leaving 179,000, from which had to be deducted the whole or the greater portion of the seamen. Here, however, was a difficulty. He could not even guess at the number of seamen who came into this country as passengers and left as seamen. But it was a curious coincidence that by deducting the whole of the seamen—111,000—there were left 68,000, which were very near the figures in the census returns. He could not, however, rely on those figures, and he would found on them only two arguments. First, that they were much safer figures than the Home Secretary's, and, secondly, that so far from the number of alien immigrants intending to settle here being unusually large in 1904 it was unusually small. In fact, there was the strongest reason to suppose that the number of aliens in this country at the end of 1904 was considerably smaller than at the beginning of the year. The balance in from Europe 84,389, and the balance out to places out of Europe, 83,000, left a difference of about 1,000, as compared with an average of 18,000, or 20,000 during the last ten or twelve years, from which had to be deducted the number of seamen who came here as passengers and went out as members of ships crews. Therefore, seeing that they must deduct from the balance of 1,000 a proportion of the 12,000 odd seamen who came 'into this country and got engagements as members of ships' crews, he thought it was perfectly certain that, as the right hon. paronet the Member for the Forest of Dean had said, in 1904 the number of aliens in this country did not increase, but diminished. And to anybody who had followed the matter there was a perfectly good reason why that should be the case. Last year was the year of the great rate war of the shipping companies. Passages could be got from this country to America as low as £2 per person. From Germany they were all the time about £6. Therefore, a great many people who came to England, and aliens who were already here, took advantage of that low price in order to get out to America, and the probabilities were that the alien population was reduced in 1904 owing to that rate war. 832 He apologised for detaining the Committee so long with these details, but he wanted to put before them the conclusions to which he, after a good deal of study of the question, had come. The Committee knew that the evil in the past had not been a great evil. He thought he had shown conclusively that it did not grow worse in 1904, and if they were going to interfere with that traffic they would interfere with the shipping interest, they would stop or hinder the transmigrant trade, and diminish the returns of shippers and railways, and a great many other people who made money out of those transmigrants in this country. Under those circumstances he submitted that no case had been made out for introducing this new and novel principle of the poverty test. What might come in the future he could not tell. He quite admitted that the moment might arrive when we should have to protect ourselves against alien immigration. All he was pleading for was that at present no case-had been made out for the poverty test, and until it was made out he protested against the crippling of our shipping. He wanted the Committee to think seriously of what those men were. Most of them were the victims of political or religious disabilities, or had been subject to conditions of a tyrannical kind in their own country. They saw before them a new home for their future in distant lands. They did not come to England, for the most part, meaning to stop here. They did not covet our workers' bread. He asked the Committee to think of this long, patient, unending stream of men—their faces worn with the labours and trials and hardships of the past, but with one little gleam of hope in their hearts as they looked across the ocean which separated them from the free lands of the West to which they desired to go, and he begged the Committee not to put obstacles in the way of these men, but rather to bid them God-speed on their long journey.
In page 1, line 23, to leave out subparagraph (a)."—(Mr Emmott.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word. 'if' stand part of the clause."833
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE BOARD OF TRADE (Mr. BONAR LAW, Glasgow, Blackfriars)
desired to say a word with regard to the figures compiled by the Board of Trade. The hon. Member for Oldham had endeavoured to prove that there were no alien immigrants coming into this country at all.
§ MR. BONAR LAW
said that the argument of the hon. Member really meant that the whole alien question was a myth and ought to be treated as such.
§ MR. EMMOTT
said he did not contend that it was entirely a myth. He had dealt with the figures of the past, and particularly with 1904. It was just possible that some aliens left in 1904 who had settled here previously, but he did not think that number would be large.
§ MR. BONAR LAW
said he was quarrelling, not with the hon. Member's words, but with his conclusion. If the conclusion of the hon. Member was that practically no aliens came into the country in 1904, his argument was rightly described as being that the whole question was a myth and ought to be treated as such. On the face of it that was a difficult position to hold, and it required some courage for a member of the Opposition to express such a view after the unusual, he believed unprecedented, action of certain Liberal Members and candidates in, if not dictating, at any rate suggesting to the Leader of the Opposition the course he should take on the Second Reading. They, at any rate, took a different view from that of the hon. Member, but they came from London, and perhaps were better able to judge, or, as was more likely, they knew that the men whom they expected to return them at the next election looked upon the question not as a myth, but as a reality, and that unless they showed some sympathy they would have little chance of being elected.
§ MR. DALZIEL,
asked on a point of order, whether it would be possible for other hon. Members to traverse the same ground as the Parliamentary Secretary in dealing with this Amendment.
understood that the hon. Gentleman was dealing with the argument of the hon. Member for Oldham that there was no such thing as a serious immigration of aliens.
§ MR. BONAR LAW
asked the Committee to consider how the hon. Member attempted to prove his peculiar proposition. He had taken two sets of figures prepared by the Board of Trade and mixed them. One of those sets was relevant to the subject and was specially prepared for the purpose, while the other was not only admittedly unreliable, but absolutely irrelevant. There was little difference of opinion as to the figures prepared by the Board of Trade specially to deal with this subject. They had been prepared year after year since 1888 for the sole purpose of giving the country a means of judging the question dealt with by the Bill, and they showed that last year, after making every possible deduction, there came into this country 75,000 people of this class with the intention, so far as the Board had means of judging, of settling here. Taking those figures by themselves there was not much room for difference of opinion. It had been said that a great many who were not returned as such were really en route to other countries. He did not deny it, but after the Board had used every means at their disposal for finding them out there remained these 75,000. But if it was, probable that a certain number of those who were returned as coming to this country for the purpose of settling did find their way to other countries, what grounds were there for not supposing that a considerable number who coming in at one port said they were transmigrants yet remained here instead of transmigrating? He thought it was not unfair to set off one class against the other; in any case he confidently asserted that so far as figures 835 were available at all they showed that 75,000 of these people came into the country in 1904, and came, as far as the Board could judge, for the purpose of remaining.
§ MR. STUART SAMUEL
I ask the hon. Gentleman whether he states that 75,000 came last year to settle.
§ MR. BONAR LAW
said he did so far as his information went. [Cries of "Oh!"] What more did hon. Gentlemen want? So far as these statistics were of any value they showed that last year 75,000 of these aliens came into this country and came to settle here. The hon. Member asked him what his private opinion was. It would not be worth anything.
§ MR. EMMOTT
asked whether the hon. Gentleman had tested these figures by the census. That was the real point.
§ MR. BONAR LAW
said he had not. He asked the Committee to observe this. The hon. Member began by drawing certain inference from the Board of Trade figures. He showed that those inferences were altogether wrong [Cries of "No"], and the hon. Member then turned round and asked him what was his private opinion and whether he had fortified it in some other way than by the Board of Trade figures. The curious process by which the hon. Gentleman arrived at this result was to leave out of account those figures which admittedly were prepared for this purpose, and to deal with figures which related not to alien immigration at all but to the general inflow and outflow of passengers between this country and Europe. Would it be believed that that set of 836 figures on which the hon. Member relied was based on no actual knowledge of the number of foreigners who came to and went from this country, and that in the very book in which the figures were found it was pointed out that all that was done was to assume that the balance struck between those who came in and those who did not go out was composed of alien transmigrants? The book from which the hon. Gentleman quoted specially pointed out that figures obtained in that way could not be relied upon.
§ MR. EMMOTT
I said that they were not reliable, but I said that they were much better than the other figures.
§ MR. BONAR LAW
pointed out that the alien figures were obtained by the exercise of statutory powers, whereas the figures in the other Return were entirely voluntary. They were returns furnished by the shipping companies and railway companies, and, as was pointed out in the book, some of them made returns in one way and some in another; some included children, others did not. But, even if the second set of figures were reliable, they would be altogether irrelevant. The object of the Bill was not to prevent aliens from coming into the country; it was to prevent undesirable aliens from coming in. The assumption of the hon. Member for Oldham and of anyone who had based his argument on those figures was that because a certain number of aliens went out always to America there was no need for special legislation; but they did not pretend that they went out in the same year that they came in. What happened, on the hon. Member's own assumption, was that we made this country a training ground in which we received all the undesirables and trained them until they were able to go out. The fact that these aliens could and did go from this country to America and settled there, where the regulations were much more stringent than the Government desired in this country, showed that they were not undesirable and were not the class of aliens who would be dealt with in this Bill. The argument he had listened to from the hon. Gentleman with so much surprise amounted simply to this: a 837 certain amount of impure water came into his supply every week, but the plumber told him that exactly the same amount of impure water went out as that which came in, and, therefore, the right hon. Gentleman concluded that there was no need to alter his system.
§ SIR CHARLES DILKE
said the temptation to repeat the arguments used on the Second Reading of this Bill was very great, because already they had had; a repetition of the figure portion of the Second Reading discussion. The Secretary to the Board of Trade had left out of his speech a fact which was absolutely material to a study of this question. For the last fifteen years the Board of Trade had been reporting on the immigration figures and explaining them, and many years ago the same gentleman who was still reporting annually, Mr. Llewellyn Smith, explained in a Yellow Paper laid before the House the whole principle on which these figures should be dealt with and understood. In that Paper he prophesied before the census of 1891 what the result of the census would be in regard to alien immigration, and he made the same prophecy before last census, and on each occasion the census wholly confirmed his prophecy. The whole of the argument of the Opposition both this year and last was based on these census figures, but they were wholly left out of consideration in the speech of the Secretary to the Board of Trade. Mr. Llewellyn Smith showed in the Yellow Paper, and again in his evidence before Lord James, that if they added together each year's figures for the last ten years the result would give an enormous increase in the alien immigration. But Mr. Llewellyn Smith explained in his evidence that they must not assume anything of the kind. In the Yellow Paper he prophesied before the census of 1891 what the result of that census would be in regard to alien immigration, and he made the same prophecy before last census, and on each occasion the census wholly confirmed his prophecy. Last year the real figures were far less than anything Mr. Llewellyn Smith himself indicated. He himself stated in the Second Reading debate that the probability was that there was a very small increase in the alien population in 838 1903, and that there must have been a decrease in 1904. Therefore, the statement in regard to the 75,000 was a mere delusion, and it was one which the Secretary to the Board of Trade ought not really to have put before the Committee without, at all events, attempting to accompany it with an explanation of the census figures. Last year the rate war gave an exceptional state of things, and they knew that possibly this year there might be some small increase in the alien population of this country; but it was false to pretend to the people of this country that this Bill was needed owing to an increase in the alien population such as had been suggested by Government speakers. That argument was absolutely negatived by the figures showing that there was a smaller alien population in this country than in that of any other great Power.
They wanted to know more than mere figures. They asked what the position of the Government was in regard to the three lines which it was proposed to omit. The Secretary to the Board of Trade, who was a protectionist, had used a free-trade argument in regard to this Bill. There were two parties in the Government with regard to the Bill, and, although the sympathies of the Secretary of the Board of Trade must lean to the one, his language leant to the other. The hon. Gentleman had adopted the view of the Secretary of State for the Home Department and the Prime Minister, but a wholly different view of the Bill had been given by the late President of the Local Government Board who was now Chief Secretary for Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman had adopted to the full the language of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham, who in the Second Reading debate on 2nd May used these words—. … we have not heard anything of what, to my mind, is very much more important—of the principle which underlies the Bill and makes the Bill only a step towards much greater things. This Bill is defended partly because, as we are told, these aliens are undesirable, because they are frequently diseased and of ten criminal. I am not inclined to lay the slightest stress on these points, though I do not doubt that there is evidence to show, and that facts do show, that they bring a larger proportion of diseased and vicious, persons into our midst than would be, the case 839 with ordinary immigrants. But the principal reason why this Bill is brought on, and why it is supported by all of us, is because it is an effort to protect the working classes of this country against the labour, the underpaid labour, of a class of immigrants sent here.Before the Committee passed from these words they ought to know which was the view taken by the Government. In the case of the United States it had been held in the Supreme Court that the words, not of this year's Bill, but of last year's Bill, which were taken from the American Act, did not exclude men who had no money and who had willing hands. The Home Secretary, who was in charge of last year's Bill, stated that the Government did not desire to exclude men with willing hands, but that was wholly different from the view expressed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham. Surely the Committee ought to know the sense in which the words were interpreted by the Prime Minister. Would they not be used to exclude competition? The words were dangerously vague, and the Committee must be assured that they were so framed that they would not be interpreted by those who had the working of the Bill in such a way as to make this a mere measure of protection.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
said that the problem before the Committee was whether we should or should not exclude from this country persons who from their circumstances were likely to be a burden to the public. As to the assertion that the question of free trade or protection was raised, the introduction of these strictly economic doctrines as applied to inanimate goods led to many fallacies when those doctrines were applied to human beings. Not much was gained by bandying across the floor such terms as free trade and protection when the influx and efflux of human beings was concerned. An hon. Gentleman had said that he could easily conceive circumstances in which the influx of aliens from abroad would cause such a great dislocation of industry that means would have to be taken to deal with it. Such circumstances might be conceived, but this Bill would not deal with a crisis of that kind. The very wording of the clause and the definition given of "undesirable alien" were sufficient to prove 840 that the Bill was not intended to deal with such a crisis. The Bill was limited to the exclusion of undesirable aliens. The alien who came into this country without pecuniary means and without the prospect of remunerative employment was undesirable because he constituted a possible public burden. It was quite true, and nobody could deny it, that there might be occasions in which the alien came to this country without means and without any assured prospect of employment, and yet by his capacity and energy he might be able to support himself and become an addition to the wealth-producing power of the country. But because the existence of such cases was not denied, was Parliament to be precluded from dealing with the generality of cases coming under the description of the Bill? Was Parliament to be prevented from dealing with a large class of persons who presumably might become a burden on the rates or on the community by way of charity because a certain number of them proved able to support themselves? That was a very irrational attitude. We had to deal with broad facts and general descriptions, even though exceptions would always occur.
The only question which the Committee had to determine at that moment was whether or not, in the interests, first, of the community at large, and secondly and more particularly of the special districts in the Metropolis and elsewhere on which the burden of dealing with these persons chiefly fell—whether or not we were bound as a nation by our traditions or by common considerations of humanity to allow these strangers to become a portion of our own community, and, if they chose to naturalise themselves, to claim all the rights and privileges of British birth and citizenship. Were we not justified in saying that we had a right to exclude such persons until they could show, not necessarily by the production of a large sum of money, but in some way or other that they had an expectation of earning their livelihood, seeing that we by our own legislation were bound to support those who could not support themselves, and to carry out those sanitary regulations the enforcement of which threw such a heavy 841 burden on any community which had more than a certain number of these poor immigrants to deal with? Unless hon. Gentlemen opposite were prepared to meet directly the particular state of things which he had ventured to describe, they were bound to support the Government in this, what they believed to be, the cardinal principle of the Bill.
MR. WILLS (Dorsetshire, N.)
said he had promised his constituents to support a just and reasonable measure for the expulsion of aliens; but it was just because he desired a just and reasonable measure that he objected to the clause under consideration. This clause of the Bill was directed against the poor as the poor.
said the expulsion clauses later in the Bill dealt with the alien who became a burden on the rates. The clause under consideration was not necessary for that purpose. No definition was really possible as to what was actual poverty. It was impossible to say what immigrant would or would not add to the wealth of the community. The United States found such a clause unworkable, and admitted an alien who was physically able to work. He knew of at least one man who was at the head of a large and important business which was being carried on to the great advantage of this country, who would have been excluded from entering this country if this Bill had been law when he came here. The numbers of aliens who actually came on the rates showed a smaller percentage than in the case of our own countrymen. The case against the poor alien as a burden, therefore, broke down as regards the past. But the Secretary to the Board of Trade declared there were 75,000 aliens who came to reside here last year. The Opposition, with the same figures available, came to the conclusion that scarcely any did so. Would the hon. Gentleman say that the figures published by the Board of Trade proved the Opposition to be wrong in their conclusion?
§ MR. BONAR LAW
said that most certainly he maintained those figures bore only one interpretation, and that was the interpretation he had given to them.
said he had no wish to pursue the matter further then; but the hon. Gentleman knew perfectly well that those figures did not even pretend to deal with the whole outflow of aliens. He did not think they need enter into any nice questions of international ethics in regard to this matter. It could be tested by the ordinary rules of conduct. They had never objected to the expulsion of the profligate, or the criminal—the really undesirable alien; but they did object to the exclusion of the poor because they were poor. He challenged. hon. Members opposite to state to their constituents that that would be the line of conduct they would adopt in their private lives He believed that the English working classes would show a great deal of sympathy for the men and women from other lands ruined, in many cases, by the iniquitous laws which hid been enforced against them by their own Governments. The English people certainly did not believe in the right of the oppressor to oppress the people in any country, and this was the basis of the right of asylum so long enjoyed. The Government had given their case away by admitting the poor alien who was rendered poor by political persecution. What about the religious refugee? He, too, might be reduced to a condition of abject poverty; and surely he, in the estimation of this country, was not less worthy of sympathy? What right had any Government to go behind the poverty in the one case if not in the other? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University was very anxious that the reflux of undesirables from America to this country should be stopped; but this part of the Bill only dealt (as the Attorney-General said) with aliens "in bulk." Undesirables were not sent back from America in bulk, but in twos and threes. He thought the country would look with broader sympathy on this clause than hon. Gentlemen opposite, I and he should vote for the Amendment.
§ LORD HUGH CECIL (Greenwich)
said that he could not assent to the proposition of the hon. Member that this clause excluded the poor aliens because they were poor. The hon. Gentleman was under a misapprehension. The section not only related to the pecuniary position of the immigrant but also to his prospects.
said his view was that prospective poverty was best dealt with by the clause which expelled an alien when he came on the rates.
§ LORD HUGH CECIL
said his point was that a man was not excluded because he was poor, but because he would remain poor. He did not agree that they should exclude aliens whenever they liked. That was not a noble doctrine; but in his opinion it was a reasonable proposition that we should exclude undesirable aliens and require each nation to deal with its own social failures. They should have the right to force other nations to consume their own smoke. He had, therefore, no hesitation in voting with the Government in respect to this Amendment, though he was not quite certain that the wording of the subsection as it stood carried out the object indicated by the Prime Minister. If it was understood that their object was to exclude paupers and vagrants and other persons of no value to the community, then it would be desirable to express a little more distinctly what was the intention of the rather vague words at present embodied in the clause. The words were vague words, and, having regard to their ambiguity, it was desirable to press the Government more directly for an explanation of what they meant.
§ SIR JAMES JOICEY (Durham, Chester le-Street)
said he had listened to the Prime Minister's speech with considerable interest, but he did not see any words in the Bill to give his views effect. He did not think there was anyone who objected to those people who were really undesirable being kept out, but what he feared was that as the Bill was drawn it would keep out and inflict a great injustice on many who would be of great advantage to this country. He per- 844 sonally knew some gentlemen who had arrived in this country as alien poor to whom this country owed very much. Those gentlemen had become wealthy and respected citizens. If such a Bill as this had been in operation, however, those gentlemen would have been prohibited from coming to this country at all. As to the alien statistics he was quite content to accept the authority of Mr. Llewellyn Smith on this question, for his views carried very much greater weight than those of the Secretary to the Board of Trade. He had been somewhat surprised that shipowners had not taken stronger action against the proposals of the Bill. He remembered very well the prophecies made by hon. Gentlemen opposite of the great benefit of the Merchandise Marks Act. The effect of that measure had been to take a great deal of trade away from the country which used to be done here. He was very much afraid that the Aliens Bill would have the same effect. A large number of aliens passed through this country, and our ships were employed to take them away. If the Bill remained as it stood much of that trade would be lost to us. He could not see what advantage would be got if they accepted the Bill. He hoped a much more satisfactory reply would be made with regard to the figures than the Committee had heard from the Secretary of, the Board of Trade.
MR. R E A (Gloucester)
said the general considerations for this measure-advanced by the noble Lord and the Prime Minister depended for their force entirely on the statistical argument. If the figures of the Board of Trade were correct there was a case for this Bill. If the figures given by the right hon. Member for the Forest of Dean, and confirmed by the census but denied by the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Board of Trade, were found to be accurate, there was no case for the Bill. The hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Board of Trade said his figures were correct; that they were official and carefully prepared; but there was one test that could be applied to them which he had not had regard to. When a ship left, these shores for America, the Board 845 of Trade made a Return that there were so many emigrants, of whom so many were British and so many foreign, but in America a far more strict investigation was made. There was a general declaration made here, and general figures were given, but when a ship arrived at New York the immigrants were taken in hand and carefully examined, and if they had foreign names and a foreign accent they were put down as foreign. They had to declare the places of their birth on oath. He had the figures from New York, and they proved that the figures of the Board of Trade were absolutely worthless. He had the particulars of the third-class passengers who went out in the Cunard steamers and who landed at New York during the first four months of this year, and what did they show? According to the manifest supplied to the Board of Trade the number of passengers for that period was 13,018, of whom 8,519 were foreign and 4,529 were British, but when they took the American figures they found that 9,940 were foreign, showing an error in the Board of Trade figures, as checked by the more severe examination at New York, of no less than 1,000 for the sailings of one steamship company for a period of one third of the year. He could show almost the same figures and the same proportion in the sailings of another steamship company. The White Star Line in the same period landed at New York 19,244 steerage passengers, of whom, according to the Board of Trade figures, 10,539 were foreign and 8,705 were British. But when these passengers were carefully and individually examined by the American authorities they found that 7,711 were British and 11,720 belonged to other countries. There, again, was an error shown with regard to the numbers carried by another company of over 1,000. He did not know why they preferred to call themselves British when at a British port, but when they got to New York their statements were tested, and the results showed that the Board of Trade figures, though authoritative and official, were not accurate. The whole case for the Bill rested on the statistical argument which, he submitted, had completely broken down. He should, therefore, without hesitation vote for the Amendment.
§ MR. HARWOOD (Bolton)
said there was no ground for the contention that the class of people who came here were paupers. It was not as though the European States dumped their paupers on our shores and bore the expenses; and people who were able to pay their own expenses could not be said to belong to the pauper class. Moreover, the bulk of these people had a means of making a living, though they might not be able to prove it to the satisfaction of a Government officer. The great majority worked as tailors. They were not tailors in the ordinary sense of the term, but they had a special gift in that direction, and, so far from taking work from our own people, they created fresh trades which gave to our own people occupations they would never have had but for these aliens. In Manchester they had created a cheap-clothing trade, which had given rise to a demand for trimmings and other things, with the result that if the aliens were abolished from Manchester at least 10,000 Englishmen would be deprived of their occupation. The same was true of the East End of London. There had been an enormous development of the cheap-furniture trade, and London had become the capital of that industry. But the whole trade rested on a basis of alien labour and gave occupation to thousands of our own countrymen. By abolishing aliens from England the Government would not give work to, but take work from, Englishmen. These men were not paupers. Would it be said that an Englishman who could pay to take his family to Russia was a pauper or likely ever to become one? There were fewer paupers amongst these people than in any other class of the community. And why? For the simple reason that they had been strained through the filter of self-denial. They were a superior class, I and to talk of them as paupers was monstrous. He came from a community that had learnt its business from alien immigrants, the people of Lancashire having got their industry from the Huguenots. He, therefore, warned the country against committing a suicidal I act.
§ MR. LEVY
considered that the clause under discussion was one of the most- 847 important in the Bill and ought to have due consideration by the Committee. In its present form it would not protect the British workman from an influx of aliens. If an employer wanted what the supporters of the Bill called pauper labour, it appeared to him all he would need to do was to go or send an agent to the port of embarkation on the other side of the water and give the men a contract to work for him for six or twelve months or less at wages of say 1s. or 2s. a day. Under this clause they could not then be excluded unless the boards were to be invested with such extraordinary powers as would bring the greatest danger and discredit upon this country. The Question he would put to the Home Secretary, and to which he felt justified in pressing for a reply, was this, if a man came with a definite engagement to work for Is. or 2s. a day or any other sum, would the Government exclude him? There was no Answer, and the Committee would draw its own conclusion.
§ And, it being half-past Seven of the olock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again this evening.