§ As amended (by the Standing Committee), further considered.
In page 17, line 32, after the word 'visit' to insert the words 'and inspect.'
In page 17, line 35, after the word 'visit' to insert the words 'and inspect.'
In page 18, line 39, to leave out the words 'In any proceeding,' and insert the words 'As respects proceedings.'
In page 18, line 41, to leave out from the word 'Act,' to end of clause, and to insert the words 'The Criminal Evidence Act, 1898, shall apply as if in the Schedule to that Act a reference to this Part of this Act and to the First Schedule to this Act were substituted for the reference to The Prevention of Cruelty to Children Act, 1894.'
In page 20, line 30, after the word 'evidence,' to insert the words 'under such circumstances that, if the evidence had been given on oath, he would have been guilty of perjury.'
In page 20, line 30, to leave out from the word 'shall,' to the word 'subject,' in line 32
In page 20, line 33, after the word 'Act,' to insert the words 'be liable on summary conviction to.'
In page 20, lines 33 and 34, to leave out the words 'is provided for by Section eleven,' and
insert 'might have been awarded had he been charged with perjury and the case dealt with summarily under Section ten.'"—(Mr. Herbert Samuel).
§ Amendments agreed to
§ SIR F. BANBURY (City of London) moved the omission of Clause 39. (Penalty on selling tobacco to children and young persons.) he wished in the first instance to say that in his opinion cigarette smoking, and indeed any kind of smoking, by young children was extremely injurious. But that was not his reason for moving the omission of the clause. He did that because he thought that this continual interference on the part of the State in the home life of the young was wrong, and was likely to lead to more mischief than the particular evil in question would bring about, Smoking, he thought, was injurious to everyone, of whatever age. His right hon. friend the Member for the Bordesley Division of Birmingham asked him if he smoked. No, he did not. That was to say, he smoked two cigarettes after dinner. He did not think that could be called smoking. If they were going to legislate against smoking, they should legislate against his right hon. friend as much as against a child fourteen years of age. One knew from personal experience of many cases in which men had lost their nerves through excessive smoking—through smoking not merely cigarettes, but long black cigars which were extremely injurious to health. The House would be taking an extremely strong step if it passed this clause. Liberals as well as Conservatives had been brought up with the idea that there was a responsibility upon the parent to rear the child in the way it should go. It had always been held that the State should not interfere in matters of domestic life and domestic economy. Yet they were going by this clause to say that the father or mother was not a fit person to have charge of a child and to prevent it smoking; they were going to regulate the affairs of private life not by example or precept, but by the policeman. He remembered as a boy remarking abroad the great number of notices beginning "Il est défendu," and being told by his father that freedom from these prohibitions was the great advantage enjoyed by an Englishman. As 174 a young man he was proud of being an Englishman, because in England unless one stole, or murdered, or broke other of the Ten Commandments he was free to do as he liked. But now all was altered. We were apparently bent on copying the bad ways of the foreigner, and regulating people's existence by the will of a majority of the House of Commons, backed up by the inspector and the policeman. That was clearly a stop in a retrograde direction. He had often boon accused of being a reactionary, but he did not want to follow the example of other countries in this respect. He preferred to maintain the example of the England of his boyhood—an example which had made England what it is. He wanted to maintain the spirit of self-reliance and self-help. One result of this legislation would be that smoking among the young would be increased. He did not smoke now, but when he was a schoolboy at Winchester he did. Why? Because he knew that if he was found out he would be flogged, and therefore it was the correct thing to smoke. That was the experience not of Winchester only, but of every public school in England. It might have had a deleterious effect—it certainly had on him personally—but still it was supposed to be the correct thing to smoke. In the same way a small boy walking through St. James' Park would smoke a cigarette out of mere bravado, knowing that if he was caught by a park ranger he would be apprehended. He would think it a manly thing to do. Parliament had already gone far to relieve the parent of his responsibility. They had relieved him of the burden of education, and now he believed they were going to relieve him of the duty of feeding his children. What was the use of having a parent at all? Why not take the child at eight months of age and put him into a State homo, there to be brought up on the most approved principles? Overeating was just as injurious as occasional excess in smoking. But whereas when a child began to smoke he was generally very ill—at least, that was his own experience—he could do a great deal of overeating without Nature stepping in. He had no doubt that quite as much injury was done to adults as well as young children by overeating and intemperance as by smoking. There were other good sound arguments against this clause. He 175 believed it would be practically unworkable, and would place the honest shopkeeper who desired to obey the law in a very difficult position. How was the unfortunate tobacconist to know when a boy was "apparently under sixteen years of age"? When he was at school some boys at sixteen had moustachios, while others looked only eleven or twelve. The conscientious shopkeeper would be hit, but the man who did not care 2d. about the law would do a great trade, and in all probability would not be found out. This was really class legislation. It would not affect the rich man. If a poor man, having got home tired, wanted a penny packet of tobacco, he could not send his son under sixteen to got it, but his right hon. friend the Member for Bordesley could send out his servant to buy a cigar—a long black one—which would do his right hon. friend a great deal of harm. He appealed to the Labour Members to support him in this matter. He would not be surprised if the majority of them smoked before they were sixteen, and he did not know a healthier or better developed body of men. If they smoked before they were sixteen, why should it hurt their sons? He really believed this was a foolish measure which would do no good and might do harm.
§ *MR. LUPTON (Lincolnshire, Sleaford) seconded the Amendment. He said this was one of the most extraordinary clauses ever presented to the House. The question was not whether the boy was sixteen, but whether he was apparently under sixteen. It did not matter what his actual age was. These Bills seemed to be knocked together in a haphazard way by some benevolent gentleman who wished to do all the good he could; everybody brought him a fresh clause, and the more the merrier, and he stuck them all in. He had the utmost respect for the intentions of the Minister in charge of the Bill; his only complaint against him was that he did not worship at the right shrine. If hon. Gentlemen really worshipped at the shrine of the Goddess of Liberty, they would know how to deal with such proposals. Who was there in the House who worshipped at the shrine? The hon. Baronet the Member for the City—yes; but when it came to the important question of compulsorily poisoning the blood of the nation, he was all for compulsion. What 176 was the chief cause of physical deterioration amongst poor people? It was the want of food when they were young. This Government which did not worship at the shrine of the Goddess of Liberty, instead of giving the children food, preferred to send the children to school without breakfast, dinner, or tea. If they would only let the parents alone, the children would grow up strong men and women. He did not say that there was any general deterioration; he did not think there was, but there were great numbers of the population who had much deteriorated, and one could not go into a police Court without seeing what a miserable lot some of those people wore. Their deterioration was brought about by interference with human liberty, which would bring about a great deal more harm than it could possibly do good, because it was interfering with the authority of the parents, and with a boy's judgment as to what was just. Boys, like most people whoso reasoning faculties were not fully developed, had a very strong feeling in favour of justice; nothing irritated a boy so much as not to be treated fairly. He would think it very unfair; he would say: "The governor smokes, and the masters smoke, and the sixth form smoke, and I don't smoke," and it would affect his ideas of reverence and duty. Perhaps it was bettor for thorn to laugh than to cry, but he was almost inclined to cry when he thought of the great harm that was going to be done by this extraordinary legislation. Part III. of the Bill was in watertight compartments, and these penal clauses stood by themselves. As the result of not paying a fine, there was the alternative of going to prison. All the official classes liked that; it meant more work for gaolers, warders, and police, but he did not like it, and, therefore, he objected to the penal clauses for the sake of doing what some people thought was good. They should go about it in the right way, by trying to educate the people as to the effects of nicotine upon their system; but a little child heard praises of smoke, he saw his father smoking cigars, his neighbours burnishing up their meerschaum pipes, and shops filled with cigarettes, and he heard very few warning voices. The good men in that House thought the short way to make the world right was to pass a law: but that was a long way round. They should rely more on giving 177 enlightenment to the people. Dr. Johnson said—he did not agree with Dr. Johnson—that they were always right in thrashing a school boy, because he was either going to or coming from mischief. He would go to other mischief, which might be worse still, and he objected to driving things in. Let them do their smoking in public. He remembered a young relation of his who did not distinguish himself in mathematics, but who distinguished himself when he saw him one day by smoking a big cigar. He advanced to him, took the cigar, and threw it away. He was not a policeman, or a magistrate, but a relative, in loco parentis. That youth was a stronger man than he was, and a better football player, and altogether a much superior person, notwithstanding that he had learned to smoke before he was sixteen. Hon. Members should pause before they rushed into this arena. Smoking was one of the most popular things that was done to-day, and this, he thought, was the most drastic attempt at interfering with popular habits that had ever been proposed in any legislature under the sun. A relative of his in the States said they had all these laws, but they laughed at them. The idea that people ought to obey and respect the laws was rapidly passing away, but he wanted to retain that idea, and he thought that before they attacked a habit that had not yet been much lectured or preached against, they should try the milder method of lecturing and teaching. If all those people who wanted to put an end to the smoking of boys would give up smoking themselves they would do well. Would they sooner have the policeman and the fine in Court, with the gaol in the background, than give up smoking themselves? If so, he was not going to help them; but if they were really against smoking they would give; it up, and that would be quite sufficient to stop boys from smoking.
In page 23, line 14, to leave out Clause 39."—(Sir F. Banbury.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words 'if any person' stand part of the Question."
§ *THE UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. HERBERT SAMUEL,) Yorkshire,
said that this part of the Bill, although small in proportion to the whole measure, had attracted much public attention, because it was novel in character and because it touched habits that were widespread, but although it was a subordinate part of the Bill, he thought it was an important part. It touched very closely the general question of national physique, which had attracted in recent years so very much attention. The nation was more and more becoming concerned for the physical condition of large masses of its population. He did not pretend for a moment that juvenile smoking was a main cause of physical deficiency—he would not use the word deterioration, for deterioration had not been proved. The conversion of our people mainly into a nation of town dwellers instead of a nation of country dwellers, the over-crowding of our cities, alcoholism, above all underfeeding—these no doubt were the main causes of the low standard of physique which was widely prevalent amongst a large section of our population; but unquestionably the evil of juvenile smoking did contribute to that end, and any measures that could be effectively designed to prevent it would undoubtedly contribute to remedy the evil from which the nation was suffering. As he said yesterday, the subject had been authoritatively inquired into again and again. There was a Royal Commission on Physical Training in Scotland in 1903, and that Commission in their Report said that—Tobacco smoking before maturity is reached had a most prejudicial effect on physical development, and this evil and increasing practice cannot be too strongly denounced.The next inquiry into the subject was that made by the Inter-Departmental Committee on Physical Deterioration, and in their Report they said—The question of juvenile smoking at the period of life dealt with in this and the preceding subsection has been given some prominence in evidence, and the Committee have received communications on the subject from the late London School Boards and one or two anti-smoking leagues. The evidence submitted on the point represents a practically unanimous opinion that the habit of cigarette-smoking amongst boys is a growing one, and that its consequences are extremely deleterious.179 They quoted a great deal of medical and other evidence, including the evidence of Colonel Leetham, the late Chief Inspector of Recruiting, in Manchester, who said that—Perhaps a third of the rejects from the Army in Lancashire might be attributed to smokers' heart. This is no doubt an excessive estimate, but it shows one bad consequence of early smoking, and it is common knowledge that smoking affects the wind and general physical capacity.The Committee recommended that Parliament should prohibit the sale of tobacco and cigarettes to children below a certain age. Two years later there followed the Committee of the House of Lords which was appointed to inquire into the question of juvenile smoking alone, and he must trouble the House with an extract from their Report. They said—The Committee were much impressed by the unanimous opinion of all the witnesses, including the representatives of the tobacco trade, that the habit of tobacco smoking produces indirectly a number of ills, facilitates the work of disease, and leads to habits of drink. They were especially impressed by the evidence to the effect that there are no signs of physical deterioration amongst girls. The witnesses all said that the reason for this was that girls are, generally speaking, entirely free from this habit. It has been proved conclusively to the Committee that juvenile smoking has increased rapidly during the last few years, and that it has had a bad effect upon the general health and physique of the present generation, whilst it must have even a worse effect upon the future generations";and they concluded with an emphatic and unanimous recommendation of legislation in the next session of Parliament—one was accustomed to that phrase—on lines which had been closely followed in the drafting of this Bill. They continually heard the complaint that again and again Committees and Commissions were appointed, which took much evidence and entered conscientiously into the subjects submitted to them; they heard many witnesses of authority and came to unanimous conclusions, but their weighty Blue-books were placed on upper shelves, and no one ever took any further notice of them. Here they had a case in point, and no stronger case could be made out, of three separate authoritative bodies all unanimously of opinion that here was not merely some trifling sentimental grievance, but a really great evil closely touching the physique of a very large class of the population. 180 In the Royal Navy the King's Regulations forbade smoking under the age of eighteen, whether ashore or afloat. Why that interference with liberty? In the Army regimental regulations were designed to suppress smoking. The local education authorities in many parts of the country had issued warnings to parents against it, and were in some cases educating as to the evils of the habit. There was legislation on this subject in almost every Anglo-Saxon country in the world—in almost all the self-governing Colonies, in a large number of the States of the American Union—as well as some other countries such as Japan. He quoted the experience of other countries not as an argument that this Parliament should legislate merely because others had done so, but in order to show that this was no mere fad or vagary on the part of the present Administration, but that it had been found necessary over a large part of the globe to take measures in recent years against this now and growing vice.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said he believed that where the laws had not been spoiled by the timid legislators who thought they were going too far they had been exceedingly useful, and the experience of the Colonies was that there was no desire whatever to repeal those laws. As a matter of fact, in Canada since this Bill was introduced legislation had been passed through the Canadian Parliament following almost word for word the clauses of this Bill. Public opinion in this country, so far as one could judge, by a great majority, supported this legislation in principle. He had received great numbers of letters and resolutions relating to the Bill, and there was no part of it which commanded a more widespread approval amongst the general body of the nation than that portion of the Bill—he was not speaking of the details, but of the principle—which dealt with juvenile smoking, and even the tobacco trade had made no representations at all against the principle of those clauses. One association had indeed proposed some amendments in detail. He had watched the movement in that trade closely, and he believed that as a whole the tobacco 181 trade approved this portion of the Bill—out of sheer good citizenship. They knew they would lose some profit by it, but they wished their trade to be free from the stigma of contributing to the physical deterioration of the nation. The hon. Baronet who moved the rejection of the clause in a speech which was more humorous than weighty, if he might say so, asked why they did not apply legislation like this to older people; but that was a futile suggestion. The whole of this Bill was for the protection of children and child life, and contained numerous proposals absolutely inapplicable to older people. Throughout all its history Parliament had drawn a distinction between legislation for the young and that suited for older people. The hon. Baronet said that parental discipline was better than the discipline of the State. No doubt it was, he quite agreed, but if parental discipline was absent, were they to do nothing? Were they to watch this evil grow? While hon. Members gave vent to copy-book headings, the evil progressed. There was a rapidly increasing sale of these noxious cigarettes at five a penny, and the time had undoubtedly come when that sale should be stopped. They must adhere to that clause which prohibited the sale of cigarettes to children. It was no novel principle, it was no new interference with liberty. Spirits must not be sold to children under sixteen under legislation of long standing. Beer or any other form of alcoholic liquor must not be sold for their own consumption to children under fourteen. Was that a wrong interference with liberty? Was that open to objection? Did that prevent the national greatness of England being maintained?
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said the other example was far older than that. As long ago as 1872 the prohibition of the sale of spirits to children was enacted. Then again explosives might not be sold to children; that was not quite analogous, but the analogy of liquor and cigarettes was a close one. The hon. Baronet said the clause was unjust because it contained the word "apparently." How could a tobacconist be expected to know whether a person was under the age of sixteen or 182 not? This was no new principle. The word occurred again and again in Acts of Parliament in similar circumstances, and it was the only way in which they could effectively draw a clause like that. If they were to leave out the word, there would indeed be a great hardship on the tobacconist. If they were to say to him "You cannot sell to a child under sixteen," it would be very hard on him to have no protection; but so long as they used the word "apparently" they had a good defence for the tobacconist. In the first place, he could say a boy looked older than sixteen and therefore he was legally entitled to sell to him, while if a small boy who looked under sixteen was in fact over sixteen, and if it was proved that in fact he was over sixteen, no offence had been committed. The Pawnbrokers' Act of 1872 made it an offence to take any article in pawn from any person apparently under twelve years of age. In London and Liverpool the age was sixteen years. The Licensing Act of 1872 made it an offence for the holder of a licence to sell spirits to any person apparently under the age of sixteen. The Metal Dealers' Act made it an offence for a dealer to sell to or purchase from any person apparently under the age of fourteen. The Prevention of Cruelty to Children Act said the age of a child was to be gauged by appearance unless the contrary was proved. This clause had not been hastily drawn without consideration; it had been very carefully considered. There was one modification in the clause which perhaps might be made with advantage. There was an Amendment down to omit lines 16 to 19, which dealt with the case of a person who gave a cigarette or cigarette papers to a person for his own use, which he had purchased or otherwise obtained on behalf of, or for the purpose of giving them to such a person. Those words bore on their face the stamp of compromise in Committee. He did not think they were satisfactory words. He did not think so at the time in Committee. They were inserted in order on the one hand, not to make it an offence merely to give a cigarette to a boy, on the other hand to retain some power of dealing with those cases in which an older boy went into a shop as the agent of a younger boy, and came out, having bought the cigarettes, and gave them to him. He was sorry to give up those words, but he could foresee 183 that they would give rise to prolonged discussion; they were not satisfactory as they stood, and he should not resist the Amendment to omit them. But the clause as a whole was discussed for a day and a half in Committee, and at the end was carried by a majority of two to one. He had little doubt the House would confirm the action of the Committee in that respect. It might be convenient if he said that their minds were not at all closed to modifications in the later clauses. He had recognised from the beginning that the fortunes of the Bill must depend to a very large degree on the goodwill of the Opposition. A measure of that kind, which contained 135 clauses, nearly forty of them entirely now matter, almost all the rest of them containing Amendments of greater or smaller importance, in a crowded session like that, could not find its way to the Statute-book unless it had the support and approval of the House as a whole, and he would like to take that opportunity of expressing on his own behalf, and on behalf of the Government, their obligations to the hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite for the assistance which they had given in the main to the progress of the Bill. There was one clause in that part of the Bill which he believed was particularly distasteful to them, and also to some hon. Members on his side of the House; he meant the clause which imposed a penalty on the child himself, Clause 41, which they thought was open to grave objection. That clause did not propose to bring a child before a Police Court, but in the last resort only before a juvenile Court. In the second place the child would never be committed to prison, because in ordinary cases that was abolished by this Bill. The clause, however, was subject to a great deal of discussion in Committee, and he gave a pledge in Committee in order to assist its passage that it should be amended to the effect that on the occasion of a first offence on the part of a child no step should be taken except that notice should be sent to the parent of the child; on the second occasion the child might be brought before a juvenile Court, when he would be liable to no more severe penalty than a reprimand; and on the third occasion only was a fine of not more than 5s. to be allowed. That clause, he thought, would be of some use, but complicated as it would be, and cumbrous in its application, he did 184 not think it was of the very greatest importance, and indeed, in Committee he said again and again that he did not regard Clause 41 as by any means one of the most important. He attached far more importance to the prohibition of sale, and also to the provision in the next clause, that where a child was found smoking in a public place a policeman should have the right of making him give up the materials which he was smoking. He thought that was a commonsense way of dealing with what was after all not a very grave offence. It was desirable to suppress it, but there was undoubtedly in the minds of many persons objection to suppressing it by bringing in the heavy machinery of the penal law. He would have desired to retain Clause 41 because he thought it would deal with the little boy who was defiant, and it would not leave the powers in the hands of the police so limited as they would otherwise be, but he admitted that the clause, whittled down as it would be by the Amendments he had undertaken to insert, would not be of very great value. Even with those pledges it passed the Committee by a bare majority of two votes. He must realise further, and he was sure the House realised, that in any legislation of this character, which in this country was novel so far as it dealt with juvenile smoking, it was as well in the first instance to proceed slowly and not to go the whole length of the way which some of them might desire, and it was essential, further, that in any new legislation of this kind public opinion should be carried with them all the way, and that the Bill should represent the general consensus of opinion, especially in that House. One or two other minor Amendments might perhaps be accepted, and he trusted that if this part of the Bill was approached by the Government in that conciliatory spirit the discussion of the Bill would be facilitated, and that hon. Members opposite would realise that that part of the Bill, having been modified to meet their views, would be free from many of the objections some of them had urged.
§ MR. MOORE (Armagh, N.)
wished to say a few words in reference to the speech to which they had just listened, and he thought many of his hon. friends would agree with the hon. Gentleman in admitting the gravity of the evil with 185 which the Bill was designed to cope. While he and his hon. friends admitted the importance of the matter, they maintained that very inadequate machinery had been provided by the draftsman of the Bill. His hon. friend the Member for the City of London was absolutely right in describing this as class legislation. Objection had been taken to this clause on the ground that it was an interference with the right of the poorer families who could not keep servants. In connection with the sale of drink to children, they arrived at a sensible compromise which allowed a boy or girl to be sent for the deleterious article provided that it was supplied in a sealed bottle. The difficulty in regard to the sale of liquor was got over in that way, but the Government had not adopted that method here. There was an absolute prohibition of a young member of a family being sent as a messenger to a tobacconist to purchase a packet of cigarettes, or cigarette papers. He suggested that a reasonable way of meeting this difficulty would be to adopt the course which was taken in the case of liquors. Let the packet be sealed. The proposal in the Bill would then be no longer open to the charge that it was class legislation, and the result would be that a senior member of a family would be able to send one of the younger members to a tobacconist for cigarettes. He thought importance would be attached to the word "apparently." There was no use in the hon. Gentleman getting up and saying that the word occurred in other Acts of Parliament. Its use in this clause would lead to a serious defect in the Bill. The word must mean apparently to the vendor. The vendor must have an opportunity of judging whether the child was apparently under or over sixteen years of age. What was going to happen in cases where cigarettes were purchased by post? There were advertisements in newspapers announcing that on receipt of so many stamps the advertisers would send so many packets of cigarettes. How could the vendor judge of the age of the purchaser in such cases? Was it intended that the word "sell" should apply to retail by post? The word "apparently" would lead the Under-Secretary into a great anomaly, and a better term would be "good reason to believe." There was nothing easier than to send a packet of cigarettes by post, and a new trade might 186 spring up of that kind. As the clause stood, it made it an offence for a tobacco merchant to sell cigarettes to a young person whether for that person's own use or the use of somebody else. That was proposed on the basis that smoking by young persons was a great national evil. He would point out, however, that the clause did not prohibit the giving of tobacco to young persons, the only prohibition was that such persons should not smoke in a public place. He could only assume that the clause was the drafting of timid legislators who were afraid to go so far as to make it a penalty to give cigarettes to young persons.
§ MR. LAMBTON (Durham, S.E.)
remarked that the Under-Secretary had said that the clause had occupied a day and a half in Committee. That showed that it was a very important one, and he did not know that it was adequately discussed in the time given to it. The question seemed very complicated at the present moment, and he could not see why the Government had confined themselves to cigarettes and cigarette papers. There were other modes of smoking equally deleterious. A cigarette was defined as a small cigar or tobacco rolled up in paper. Apparently, boys might smoke any cigar except a small one. The whole matter was very complicated. He wished to support the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London in his Motion to omit the clause, and he did so on the grounds brought forward by the hon. Member for Sleaford. The Government were beginning at the wrong end in inflicting penalties upon children. The Under-Secretary had said that the national physique was suffering through cigarette smoking, and told the House that the nation was more and more considering the question and that public opinion supported the Bill. If that were so, he asserted that the clause proposed legislation on the wrong lines. If the general body of the nation were in favour of the Bill and opposed to smoking by children it was the business of the parents of the children to see that they did not smoke. He objected to a clause of that sort being applied to the children themselves, for they could not know what the 135 clauses in the eighty-two pages of the Bill contained. It was the duty of Parliament to put the penalties upon the parents and not 187 upon the children. Like all boys he smoked when young, but his father said he was not to smoke until he attained the age of twenty. He himself told his boys that they must not smoke until they were a certain age; and he maintained that it was the duty of parents to bring up their children themselves, and not to trust to Acts of Parliament. Obviously, all the clauses on tobacco smoking ought to be left out, and a new clause brought in under which the parent whose children smoked should be prosecuted. If a parent could not look after his own children and prevent them smoking, it was the duty of Parliament to prosecute him. He thought it was perfectly disgraceful to throw the responsibility of the parent into Acts of Parliament. They were doing away with the responsibility of parents in many ways, and he hoped the House would reject the clause.
§ LORD R. CECIL (Marylebone, E.)
said he was very glad that the Under-Secretary had seen his way to make some Amendments in the very drastic clauses, which certainly made them less objectionable than they were before. At the same time, he could not bring himself to believe that the clause they were now discussing was really one which Parliament ought to pass. He could not help feeling, in listening to the speech of the Under-Secretary—a speech which, like all his speeches, was exceedingly able and well-constructed—that he felt very much the strength of the case against him, because he brought to his aid all sorts of arguments, some of which, it appeared to him, had very little relevancy to the subject under discussion. What was the use of referring to the fact that they did not allow explosives to be sold to children? In forbidding the sale of explosives to children, they were thinking not only of the children's good in the matter; they were thinking also of the danger which might be inflicted on other people besides themselves. The hon. Gentleman said that the tobacco trade was not opposed to the clause, and he thought the tobacco trade was moved by the greatest spirit of patriotism in the matter. He himself had the greatest admiration for the tobacco trade, and he had no doubt they were fully as patriotic as Members of Parliament; but when he was told that they were not opposed to a particular 188 form of legislation forbidding the sale of tobacco, be was disposed to think it was because they knew that it would not do them any particular harm. The hon. Gentleman went on to refer to what was done in the Navy, Army, and public schools. He might say in passing that the rule against tobacco smoking in the Navy was more honoured in the breach than the observance. That showed the impossibility of conveying to the Under-Secretary and those who supported him the objection which he and his friends on that side of the House felt to the clause. The authorities of the Navy, Army, and public schools were in the place of the parents. The whole well-being of the child while in the Navy, or Army, or a public school, was handed over to the authorities under whose care he was placed. In the case of a public school a boy must not be out after certain hours at night, he had to eat certain things which were given to him and nothing else, he was not allowed to spend his time loafing about, and he had to take exercise under certain rules. They did not propose to put all these things in an Act of Parliament. They did not propose to enact that no child should be out after ten o'clock at night—a not unreasonable provision from the point of view of health. They did not propose to provide that a boy should take an hour's physical exercise per day and no more. All these minute regulations were beyond the province of Parliament. The question was not whether they approved of tobacco smoking by children or not, but whether it was desirable in the best interests of the children themselves, of the parents, and of the public at large to make it a penal offence for a boy to smoke a cigarette. There was a limit in approaching this subject. There was a violent prejudice—it was really largely a matter of prejudice—against smoking on the part of the young. There was a kind of flavour of immorality about it. He had heard something of this medical evidence of which they heard so much, but there was not one line that did not apply to grown human beings as well as to children. It was quite true that anything that was unwholesome was more serious in the case of growing lads than in the case of grown men. Tobacco smoking in excess was certainly bad for children, but there was no evidence whatever that it 189 was bad in very great moderation for children. He defied anyone to produce any specific evidence in support of the statement that the smoking of a single cigarette, for instance, by a child of fourteen, did the least harm in the world. That being so, they had to approach this subject from that side of the House exactly as they would approach any other unwholesome practice for children. The question was, was this a wise way of dealing with it? He did not believe that the clause would have the least effect. He believed that a boy, if he wished to get tobacco, would get it somehow, and would smoke, and no clause making it a penal offence for a boy to get tobacco would have any real effect. His hon. friend the Member for North Antrim had pointed out that they could not stop compulsorily the sale of tobacco by post. There was no means of doing it. There was nothing to prevent a boy either writing himself or getting somebody to write for him, to a merchant to send him a packet of tobacco. The addition of the cost of postage was not a very serious matter when they considered the amount that could be sent by post for a penny. If a boy wished to smoke, the penalty for doing so would only increase his ardour to indulge in it. What was more likely than that to do him harm? They had been told that this was a growing evil and that something should be done to stop it. There was no more dangerous frame of mind in which a Legislature could approach such a question. But why was this tobacco smoking becoming a great evil? Hon. Members on the other side of the House never asked themselves why it was that those evils affecting the young began, and why it was that they were more flourishing now than they were thirty or forty years ago. They had a great career of progressive legislation during that period. They had provided for compulsory education and all sorts of regulations for dealing with children. They had very largely put the State in the position of the parent, and yet they were told that this was a growing evil. And they proposed still further to take away the legitimate natural authority of the parent and substitute for it the wholly illegitimate and ineffective authority of the State. That was a vice which they on that side of the House opposed. It was an offence against all 190 legitimate legislation. Moreover, it did not accomplish what it proposed to accomplish. It effected a great many more evils than it attempted to cure. He hoped that the House, even at that stage, would not pass the clause, which he was convinced would do harm; and he trusted the House would support the Motion of the hon. Baronet.
§ *MR. JESSE COLLINGS (Birmingham, Bordesley)
said he would like to say a few words on this clause, although they were all conscious that it would have no effect on hon. Gentlemen opposite. He would not follow his hon. friend behind him on the effects of tobacco smoking, even in moderation. But they should look at the result of smoking on the part especially of the poorer classes of the country, at the manner in which it sweetened friendship and passed away the bad hours of poverty and hunger. [MINISTERIAL ironical laughter.] Hon. Members might laugh; but this was a Bill framed by and with the ideas of the well-to-do classes for dealing with the poorer classes of the country. He thought, however, that most hon. Members would agree as to the social advantages and comfort smoking had given. It promoted a good, friendly feeling, and because it was a comfort to so many was one reason why it should be done away with in the opinion of certain persons. It was a revival of the old Puritan feeling about putting down bear-baiting, not out of consideration for the bear, but because the Puritans suspected that the bear-baiting gave some pleasure to the spectators. He would not go into the merits of smoking. He did not smoke cigarettes himself. He did not care about them. His only objection to good cigars was that they were expensive. He did not think that they did him any harm, although for a considerable number of years he had tried his best in the direction of both pipes and cigars, and he could say that, on the whole, he had benefited from smoking them. The faddists might say that they were no good; that they must not drink, smoke, or do this, that, and the other thing until their lives were so limited that one wondered that they thought it worth while living at all. Health was injured in many other ways—by discontent, by various drawbacks, and troubles which they might regard as 191 evils. He did not often find himself in agreement with some of his hon. friends on pure political matters, but he was heartily in agreement with them when they regretted that the liberty of the country was being more and more encroached upon. With regard to hon. Members below the gangway who were supposed to represent the Democratic Party, there was not a proposal for the curtailment of individual liberty but received their earnest support. That was democracy, not according to the old definition of the term. It was tyranny, and nothing else. It was true Socialism that the individual and the influence of the individual was to be destroyed, and the State and the regulations made by the State were to follow the individual from the cradle to the grave. That had ruined some countries; it would ruin this to the extent that it was persevered with. Of one thing he was sure, that if these restrictions were continued we should grow up—talking about physical and mental degeneration—into a nation of molly-coddles. His objection to the clause was that it would not in any way decrease the evil complained of. He was absolutely sure that it would increase it. Take a child, for instance; when he had attained the age of sixteen years, assuredly he would become a confirmed smoker out of bravado; to show that he had recovered his freedom he would get into the habit of smoking. Talk about the poisoning qualities of cigarette smoking! It had been said that the evil arose from the habit of smoking cheap cigarettes which were provided by the million for the youth of the country. But if these cheap cigarettes were analysed, how much nicotine would be found in them? It would be found that in the penny packet of cigarettes there was an infinitesimal amount of nicotine. And if there was no nicotine in them, how could there be nicotine poisoning? One objection he had to this clause, besides all others, was that it would increase the practice of cigarette smoking. They could not go against human nature. If a boy were told that he must not do a thing, his first instinct would be to consider how he could set about to do it. It was an instinct, and any boy worth anything would act in that manner. There was an extra charm, moreover, in anything that was forbidden by law. Forbidden 192 by the parent was one thing, and for bidden by the law was another, and the latter would inevitably increase the consumption of these cigarettes. As had already been said, this was class legislation in the worst form. It was absolutely class legislation got up by societies every member of which, or nearly every member, could get all their wants supplied, but who seemed to have pleasure in arranging that their less favoured brethren should not have their wants supplied. They talked about the fining of a child, but it was not the child who was fined, it was the parent. On the first occasion there was a reprimand which would involve some costs; for the second offence there was a fine of 5s. Were not the poorer classes of the country handicapped enough that they must begin in this superior House of Commons to legislate in this way? Was this the Government's democracy? If so it was not an expression of the true democracy that he was taught and in which he still believed in. It was the parent who would have to pay, and if he could not pay he would have to go to prison. For what? Because his child in the street or public place had been caught smoking a cigarette. He said the position was not worthy of our Legislature. It was not even worthy of argument, but only of ridicule and contempt. The only consolation was that this clause would be a dead letter. If it were put into operation they would want to double the number of the police, because they would be going to make a third of the poorer classes of this country criminals—that was, criminals before the law, not moral criminals. The Government were going to do the deadly injury to the nation of setting up a standard of crime which included that which was no crime, so that the working classes would be hardly able to distinguish between what was a real and what was a fictitious crime. They would in this way sustain a great damage to their morality. It was one of the greatest dangers of any law to confuse the difference between a real crime and what could only be regarded as a breach of a bye-law. By this clause, therefore, the Government would make a stab at the morality of the nation. They would teach the poorer and the working classes that it was of no importance whether they broke in and stole or whether they smoked a cigarette; it was 193 equally a crime. That was a bad lesson for any Government to teach a nation, and as he said, by this measure one third of the population would be rendered criminals. If the Government would take a broad and reasonable course, withdraw this clause and rely upon the other social influences, they would secure the end in view far more than they would by this measure. He had always been reluctant to refer to his own experience, but in his younger days, being the youngest of a large family, it fell to him, as being the only one, or one of the only two who were not engaged in work, to be sent out every day for beer and tobacco. Who else was to do it? The members of the family would come home at twelve o'clock to dinner for which they would have an hour. The head of the family would have her hands full, as there were eleven or twelve people to provide for, and what hon. Members forgot, no servant, so that everything would have to be done by one pair of hands. The beer had to be provided for the meal and the tobacco for the pipe after it was done, and who had to fetch it but the child? And he remembered, young as he was, that twice a day he would go, in the evening with an old horn lantern in one hand and a beer can in the other, for the dinner and the supper beer. And that was the position that existed at the present day in our villages, and would exist as long as they had poverty as the ruling incident, as it unfortunately was, among the poorer classes of the country. He said that if the working classes had this question put before them to-day they would repudiate those who now professed to be the leaders of the working classes. In fact those who spoke for the working class, carried away by sentimental feeling, had forgotten the real interests of the poor. He bore in mind that the President of the Board of Trade the other day spoke and said what a beautiful country this was, and that the amenities between all classes and the love of all classes was greater than in any other country, but what the right hon. Gentleman said would apply to three or four millions of the people only. Of the remainder, for one-third there was a struggle to live, for the second third there was purgatory, and for the last third a hell. That was the position of things in England, and the Govern- 194 ment were making it worse. He apologised to the House for occupying it for so long, but he did so on grounds of liberty, of the interest of the poorer classes, and of morality, and in resistance to attempts to establish a meretricious system of morality instead of a real one. He also objected that such proposals would whiten the outside of the sepulchre and leave the inside as bad as it might be. He admitted many evils. He did not say that tobacco was good for children, but it was good for him. At least he found it so, and he was no mean smoker. [Laughter.] Hon. Members laughed, but they could not refute. There were some who would do away with everything which they called a vice except that to which they were themselves inclined. On these grounds, while admitting that there were many good and excellent things in the Bill, he protested against this clause. He regretted that it was marred by defects that he for one considered to be of the greatest magnitude.
§ MR. S. COLLINS (Lambeth, Kennington)
said he had listened to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman with great sorrow. He regretted that the right hon. Gentleman, with all his experience of human nature and with all his long life, should get up in that Assembly and make such a speech as he had done, when they had this great Bill which had been called the Children's Charter under the consideration of the House.
§ MR. S. COLLINS
said the right hon. Gentleman spoke against the clause, which was a vital and most important part of the Bill. While he had been sitting there listening to hon. and right hon. Gentleman opposite he had been asking himself "Why this change of front." They had had the hon. Gentleman who was in charge of the Bill just before that complimenting hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite on the great assistance which they had given to the Government and to the Bill in Committee and how they have been practically unanimous. Now, everyone who had spoken had attacked this clause. Were they repenting and thinking that after all they had done wrong in Committee, and had they 195 come down that day to attack the Bill—[Several HON. MEMBERS: Not the Bill, this clause.] Well, if they took away this clause they might as well drop the Bill. He believed that there would be thousands of parents up and down the country who would be pleased if this clause were passed because it would assist them in protecting their children. The right hon. Gentleman had talked of other days when the children had no such opportunities of getting and earning money that they had to-day. Parents and everyone who had anything to do with children would support them in passing this clause. It would be a blessing to the children and remove a great temptation. The right hon. Gentleman had spoken against all the facts of science and learning and the medical evidence brought before the Committee. There might not be so much nicotine poison in one cigarette. But it was not one cigarette, it was one after another and an accumulation of the poison that was the evil. He hoped his hon. friend would remain firm on this point in spite of the opposition to the clause, and he appealed to the House to think of the little children and help to remove this temptation that so demoralised them. The waste of money was evil enough, but behind that, and worse than that, there was the ruin of the health of the children. The noble Lord had stated that every argument used with regard to the children applied to adults, but there was at least one that did not. Smoking stopped the growth of children. He implored the House, as one who had the interest of the children at heart, to support this clause. Although he himself was a light smoker he might say he did not commence to smoke until he was fifty years of age.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR (City of London)
said that unlike the hon. Gentleman who had just spoken, he was not even a light smoker. He neither smoked, nor had he ever indulged in the practice. The question before the House was whether they ought to embody in an Act of Parliament, in a very imperfect and incomplete form, one broad recommendation with regard to the treatment of the young, and whether if they did so they would carry out in the smallest degree the object they had in view. Everyone knew that since the medical world, and following 196 it the general public at large, had been devoting themselves to the general question of hygiene, any number of views, sometimes quite inconsistent, were taken as to the proper method, not of adult life alone, but even more of young life. He believed the questions touched upon were of the profoundest importance. He had not the smallest doubt that the young and especially the very young in this country suffered from the ignorance of their parents—especially of their mothers—as to the best kind of food and treatment they ought to have in their tender years. It was not a question of poverty, although, of course, that question came in. Entirely outside poverty, was there a single person who had followed the discussions who did not know that according to the large schools of well-instructed medical opinion, most injurious things were done to the young by their parents through sheer ignorance? There was no attempt to deal with that in the present case; they were attempting to deal with what was not a vice but a form of indulgence which they thought ought not to begin till the human being was sixteen. He would not discuss how far smoking was injurious to a person under sixteen or over sixteen. Everybody knew that even after sixteen there were people who greatly over-smoked, who produced what was called a "smoker's heart," and who brought upon themselves important or unimportant ailments by indulgence in tobacco. But the numbers of men and women who smoked were increasing. Smoking was accepted in ordinary houses in a manner in which it was not accepted twenty years ago. He had not the slightest doubt that the increase of juvenile smoking of which the hon. Gentleman complained was due simply to the imitation by the young of the practices of their elders, which was universal and was embodied in human nature. If their parents smoked and they themselves thought it was a fine thing to smoke and a manly thing to do, then an Act of Parliament would not stop it. But how were they going to deal with this question of hygiene? There was one school of medical opinion who thought the people of the country were not suffering from under-feeding but from over-feeding—from injudicious feeding. He had a friend who had taken a great deal of trouble to look into the actual methods of life among the artisan 197 and operative classes in Manchester and other large centres, and her opinion was that the diet was unwholesome—not that there was not money to spend, but because the money to spend was not well spent, and the diet was an improper one. That was deplorable, but surely the remedy was not an Act of Parliament. These medical questions could not be dealt with by statute. There could not be a more conclusive proof of the impotence of it than the attempt the Under-Secretary was making now. The evil the hon. Gentleman was afraid of was nicotine. But nicotine could be taken in a great many ways. It could be taken in the form of cigarettes, cigars, or pipes, and in a form dear to our ancestors, that of snuff. Only one form was being dealt with by the Government. But if they were legislating in a serious spirit against what they thought was a great hygienic evil, surely they ought to try and deal with it on some high hygienic principle in accordance with the medical opinion of the day. In dealing with this question they could not do more than take expert evidence of men of science whose business it was to look into the question. Did a single doctor tell them that nicotine taken in the form of cigarettes was noxious, but that nicotine taken in the form of pipes, cigars, and snuff was not noxious? It was not so. The Government confined their attention to cigarettes because for the moment cigarette smoking among boys was common. Of course if the Bill decreased cigarette smoking it would only drive the consumption of nicotine into some other channel. If, for instance, a boy was in love with tobacco this would not stop him. What lured a boy to smoke was a sense of imitation of his elders, he thought it was fine and manly, that it showed that he was growing up, and that he was a fine fellow, and if he were stopped smoking bad cigarettes he would take to smoking bad cigars, and if he were stopped smoking bad cigars he would smoke bad tobacco in pipes. If he smoked for the pleasure of it the Bill would not stop him.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. GLADSTONE,) Leeds, W.
pointed out that the Bill referred to pipes and cigars as well as cigarettes.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
asked if tobacco was mentioned in the clause under discussion except in the form of cigarettes.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said Clause 44 and the whole of this part of the Act applied to tobacco as it applied to cigarettes, except that the sale to boys was not prohibited where the tobacconist had no reason to believe the tobacco was for the boy's own use. Working men did not keep servants, and a working man sent his boy for his tobacco. [An HON. MEMBER: And cigarettes.] If the working man smoked cigarettes he must buy them himself. The Bill did not prohibit absolutely the sale of tobacco other than cigarettes to boys, but prohibited the smoking of it by boys in public places and allowed the police to seize the cigarettes or other tobacco.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
did not wish to be dragged into a drafting argument. He was trying to deal with the general matter, but when he saw that Clause 39 referred to cigarettes and cigarette papers, and when he turned to Clause 44 and saw that cigarette meant tobacco other than cigarettes, then to his mind the whole thing fell into hopeless confusion. He did not wish to discuss the framework of the Bill; he wished to deal only with the question of cigarette smoking. If the right hon. Gentleman meant to touch on the whole question of the use of tobacco by the young, then he ought to have chosen some other form of words that could not be doubted. Nobody could suppose that by Clause 39 the Government intended to prohibit the use of all tobacco, except that in the shape of snuff, by persons under the age of sixteen. He had said that if it was proved that what tempted a boy to smoke was the desire for the habit, 199 then they would not prevent him by saying that he was not to smoke in public. If, on the other hand, all they meant to do was to prevent the unpleasant sight of a rather sickly-looking youth smoking what was obviously a most detestable cigarette with the air of one who was lord of all he surveyed, then, really, the machinery of legislation ought not to be used to do it. Conceive the feeling of a boy when he knew he was perfectly safe if he smoked in any spot which could not be described as a public place. He would only have to walk through the gate of a field when he saw a policeman approaching; he might lean over the gate and puff his cigarette in the face of a policeman until he had finished it. Could any greater amusement be provided for the rising generation than that of being able to smoke a cigarette in a public place, and if one saw a policeman approaching, to move off a dozen yards through a gate, continue to smoke one's cigarette until it came to an end, and then walk out, taking off one's hat to the guardian of the law? If their object was to prevent physical deterioration of the race, surely legislation of that kind would be absolutely useless. He could not but think that the Government were lapsing into a procedure which had long been discredited. His hon. friend the Member for the City of London had remarked that in his younger days this kind of legislation was disbelieved in by both sides of the House, and he himself thought that to be absolutely true. In the Middle Ages, in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, exactly the same kind of legislation was passed. They believed seriously at that period that by this kind of legislation one could perform some miracle in forming the habits of the population; and they were always passing Bills—not that any human being took the smallest notice of them after they were passed, but because they were an evidence of the good intentions and high objects of the Legislature which passed them. The Under - Secretary in the middle of his excellent speech, in answer to a question which was interpolated as to the result of the legislation in the Colonies, said that to deal fully with that question would take too long, and that there had been no desire to repeal the legislation. Legislation of this kind was not repealed; it was ignored. It was difficult to repeal legislation. It roused 200 a considerable opposition; it led to long debates. Therefore, he quite agreed that if they passed this legislation it probably would not be repealed, but it would be absolutely ignored. Nothing would happen. Here and there a mischievous boy would amuse himself by making fun of a too zealous constable. But that Parliament would, by the passing of clauses like this, actually alter the taste for nicotine, or the imitation of that taste, by the young was really grotesque. The one thing that Parliament could not do was to create a feeling that something was immoral. If they based their Act of Parliament upon an already admitted feeling of immorality, they might give to that feeling practical expression; but to suppose that by merely putting it into a Bill they were going to create that public opinion which was required in order to make their Act operative was the most fantastic illusion, although it was constantly haunting the minds of legislators and legislatures. He must express his belief that the Government had fallen into that method. The hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had asked whether any change had come over the feelings of the Opposition with regard to the Bill as a whole. No change had come over the feelings of the Opposition. He did not wish to undervalue the admirable work which the hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill had done in furthering it, but, probably, he had found a good many of the provisions embodied in its clauses in the Home Office. Of course, those clauses and the Bill as a whole met not merely with the assent of both sides of the House, but with their warm approval; but this particular group of clauses had no connection with the Bill as a whole. He could not help feeling that though the hon. Gentleman had not in the least endangered his Bill by adhering to these clauses, he and the Government had not acted quite fairly by the House in introducing suggestions of so controversial a character in the middle of a very long Bill which, in its main provisions, was quite uncontroversial. Everybody knew that the Opposition could even now absolutely prevent this Bill passing into law without the smallest difficulty, unless closure by compartment were adopted. A Bill of over 130 clauses could only be passed by consent; and that consent they 201 were anxious to give and meant to give; but it was rather abusing their anxiety to see useful legislation passed to interpolate something so alien to the general spirit of legislation in that House—legislation which, however excellent in intention, could not have the smallest effect on the habits of the young, legislation which created crimes which did not now exist, legislation which would be a constant and chronic incentive to all the high-spirited youth of the country to add to the rather unfortunate habit of imitating their elders by indulging in the practice of premature smoking, the additional pleasure of defying—in a matter in which morals were not in the least concerned—this meddlesome legislation which the Government insisted on passing. It was, he supposed, too late after the speech of the Under-Secretary to make an appeal, but when the Government depended upon the Opposition for passing their Bill they spoke with some claim to general consideration, and he asked the Government whether they did not think that if legislation of this kind was to be passed at all it should be passed separately, so that the House might pronounce upon its merits. It was consistent neither with the best interests of the country, nor with the traditions of legislation in that House, to interpolate controversial clauses wholly outside the ordinary legislative practice of the House, which so large a section of the public thought would be entirely inoperative for the progress of those it was intended to benefit, and which, so far as the public were concerned, could be productive of nothing but evil.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
thought that no one in the House would complain either of the tone of the right hon. Gentleman's observations or of his criticisms. The Government had recognised from the first that there were strong arguments against the provisions now proposed. The right hon. Gentleman had said that they ought, in regard to this particular Bill, to remember the views and opinions of the Opposition, and, seeing that the Bill was a very long one and was not controversial, it ought not to be imperilled by the introduction of clauses so highly controversial. But he would like to point out that the Government had no reason to apprehend that these 202 clauses would in fact be considered as highly controversial. They were in the Bill from the start; they had been considered in Grand Committee; they had been under public notice for a very long time, and he was bound to say that the opposition to them which had been developed to-day came to him very much as a matter of surprise. He was prepared for criticism, and he might say for an adverse vote. He was referring not so much to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, but to the language of high denunciation, the declaration that these clauses were directed against liberty, that they meant the police force would have to be doubled, and other statements of that sort, which appeared to him to be not only highly coloured but—he did not wish to say anything offensive—almost a grotesque exaggeration. There had been a double argument. The right hon. Member for Bordesley had taken the pessimistic view that these clauses Would lead to all sorts of terrible effects; and the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition summarised what he considered would be the results by saying there would be no result at all, that the machinery of the Bill would be impossible, and that the effect of it would be a dead letter. He thought that argument answered in great measure the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bordesley. There could not be any interference with liberty if there was to be no particular effect at all—no result of the Bill. But he did not wish to press that argument beyond a certain point. The two real questions they had to consider were these—first, was the practice of smoking by the very young bad; was it a habit which was growing and threatening the health of the nation; and, in the second place, was it their duty to endeavour to provide a remedy, and was the remedy proposed adequate for the purpose? These were the questions they had to consider. He thought boys smoked cigarettes because they liked it. They did not smoke pipes and cigars. If they did, nature would have its revenge. He remembered smoking cigarettes himself at an early age, and liking it very much.
§ MR. GLADSTONE
said the definition of a public place was so very difficult that he could not answer the question. When he was a boy, what was a casual practice had now become a very common habit. The noble Lord the Member for Marylebone questioned whether there was any weight of scientific or medical evidence to prove the evil of cigarette-smoking. Surely it was a fact that whether medical opinion could be relied on now or in the future, it had declared with force and conviction that smoking in excess was bad for all, that smoking in excess for the young was perhaps the worst thing possible, and that smoking even moderately had a bad effect on the health of young persons. He would recall to the recollection of the House a rather significant general order which was issued in March by General Grenfell in Ireland. He was not an emotional faddist, but a man who kept his eyes open, and had the health of his soldiers greatly at heart, and would only act in a practical and commonsense way. He said in this general order—The commander of the forces has, during recent visits to military hospitals, been again struck with the harm that the increasing prevalence of cigarette-smoking is doing to the health of the Army. It is not confined to the Army, and Parliament is likely soon to deal with it as affecting the national health. Lord Grenfell appeals to the Irish Command to give earnest and early thought to combat what is gradually but greatly affecting its efficiency, and he requires all commanding officers to impress on those under their command the evils that must inevitably ensue from this excess.With a view to helping men to overcome the habit the commander of the forces directs the smoking of cigarettes to be prohibited at certain times when, on the other hand, no similar restriction as regards pipe-smoking will be made; the smoking of cigarettes, therefore, will not be permitted while men are on fatigue or under arms on any occasion, including field operations and manœuvres.He believed similar orders had been issued in other commands. The military authorities had, in their manual dealing with health, dealt with the matter, and had issued in their Memorandum to soldiers a series of warnings on the subject. He understood it was found that young soldiers who had taken to cigarette-smoking, and had largely abandoned smoking pipes, had in consequence developed heart troubles, and now special 204 precautions were being taken. There was a special danger in cigarette-smoking which had so far developed as to endanger the efficiency of soldiers and to lead to a large number of rejections in the case of recruits. What was true of these young soldiers, a fortiori must be true of still younger boys who took to the habit. He did not think they could carry the matter any further. He believed the evil was admitted. The question was, were these provisions necessary and would they be of practical effect. Their intention was to co-operate with the parents. They agreed that the parent was and ought to be the authority, but the mischief was that the boys never smoked under the eyes of the parent, who had no power whatever over them, and the boys under the present law had perfectly unlimited powers of buying tobacco, and the very worst tobacco that was sold. They proposed to co-operate with the parents by saying that the tobacco seller must not sell tobacco of this kind to boys. These proposals must necessarily be open to criticism, but the boys who indulged to the most mischievous extent in the practice of smoking cheap cigarettes did not, in fact, get their tobacco by post, and he very much doubted if they would in future if the Bill was passed. The Government anticipated that the Bill would have a practical effect because it proposed to co-operate with the parents in stopping what was admittedly a great and a growing evil. His hon. friend had announced modifications in Clause 39, and had told the House that he was not going to proceed with Clause 41. The right hon. Gentleman would agree that they had paid that tribute to the criticism of the Opposition. But they were so convinced that this was an evil which really required to be dealt with that they could not make further concessions of any material kind. They believed that something was necessary, and that these proposals were the best that could be devised. He agreed that there were imperfections in them, and if any hon. Member could suggest a better mode they would be only too glad to consider it. But, so far as they were concerned, these clauses represented the most effective action that could be taken, and he hoped, therefore, the House 205 would support them in maintaining them as announced by his hon. friend.
§ VISCOUNT MORPETH (Birmingham, S.)
said the right hon. Gentleman was under some misapprehension with regard to what took place in Grand Committee. There were many Members of the Committee not on one side of politics alone, who resisted these clauses most strenuously—Members who had given a general support or a friendly neutrality to the Government. They recognised that the Under-Secretary had made a very considerable concession: to their mind the clause that the Under-Secretary proposed to omit was the most mischievous of all, because it brought a boy, through what was no moral fault, into the meshes of the law and into the police Court. He was grateful to the Under-Secretary for striking that out. He did not want to say anything about the general principles of liberty and compulsion. Compulsion was often very necessary and useful, and liberty should be very qualified when they were dealing with the young. Liberty was by no means altogether a blessing for those who had not come to years of discretion, and he did not base his opposition on that ground; but the clauses were mischievous because they would not and could not be enforced. From their very earliest years boys would be accustomed to flout and disobey the law generally, with very slight or no consequences to themselves, and cigarette-smoking, though a bad habit, was of less account than that boys should be enabled to disregard the law. The Home Secretary said it was the desire of the Government to co-operate with the parent. If the parents and the schoolmasters in elementary schools chose to enforce the powers which were legitimately theirs it would be perfectly possible to put down smoking amongst young boys. It was very remarkable that a boy should be a habitual cigarette-smoker, and the parent not be aware of the fact. If the parents were zealous in the matter, and schoolmasters cared to co-operate, it was perfectly easy to put down smoking without calling in the arm of the law. He would like to ask whether the Government considered drinking or cigarette-smoking the worse. In their general legislation they were going as far as 206 possible to prevent the adult from drinking, but they were not going to prevent him smoking. Under their legislation for children they allowed a child to drink beer after the age of fourteen, and did not allow him to smoke up to the age of sixteen. According to that arrangement of ages it appeared that they considered cigarette - smoking worse for young boys than the drinking of alcohol. He disclaimed the idea that seemed to exist in the minds of some people that smoking and drinking had anything to do with one another. There were very many excellent persons who thought it dangerous to allow boys to smoke because it led to drinking habits, but there was no evidence of any sort that there was any connection between drinking and smoking. He thought it a great pity that the two matters should be drawn into connection, and that smoking should be considered vicious or even morally wrong, and that therefore they should make an ill-considered and ill-advised attempt which was doomed to failure.
§ *MR. REES (Montgomery Boroughs)
said he would not attempt to maintain the debate at the level it had reached, or to follow his noble friend in the ethics of the question whether smoking and drinking were connected, though he believed those who did not smoke did not want to drink before going to bed at night. He was in favour of lessening temptation—indeed, he would vote for its total abolition—and he was grateful to the Government for excising Section 41, and for the Amendments they had introduced into Section 39, which had made it more workable, and to him, personally, far more palatable. Every Member who had spoken had been so far personal in his remarks that he had referred to his own habits as regards smoking, therefore he made no apology for saying that tobacco was a weed which was to him absolute poison. Neither had he been converted from his belief that juvenile smoking was extremely injurious. He had lived in countries where brown babies alternately applied themselves to their mother's breasts and their mother's cigars. Anyone might see that in Burmah every day of their lives, and it was possible that to the children of that 207 country the early practice of smoking was not so injurious as he believed it was to the youth of this country. But he did not think because one took that ground it would be any justification for joining the ranks of those who "compounded the sins they were inclined to by damning those they had no mind to." He believed juvenile smoking was an extremely injurious practice. But to make things crimes was another affair. He would like to know if it was the case that if a boy of sixteen or under sold a cigarette paper which might or might not be used for the purpose of rolling a cigarette, he would actually be liable to a fine of £5, and that, if he could not pay, his father would be liable to go to prison? With all anxiety to stop juvenile smoking that seemed to be rather a severe provision, and the section was pretty stiff. It was quite conceivable that a boy might sell some of those cigarette papers to another boy for the purpose of rolling up alley tors or commoneys, or other toys or marbles that boys used. It seemed too much to make the passing of cigarette papers like this an offence. Personally he would be rather glad if the section were amended, and made a little more lenient than it actually was. However, he had heard expressions of dissent and disapproval on that side of the House at the action of the Home Secretary in excising Section 41. Therefore he took the opportunity of saying there were some on that side who thought it was a wise and a moderate course to cut this out, and were grateful to the Government for having done it. The fact was that one might be very anxious to abolish temptation. It was an admirable objective, but it was not very easy of attain inert. It seemed to him that to multiply these offences, and to create so many crimes was rather a serious matter. When one clause after another came before the House, and provisions, already severe enough, were stiffened up, he could not help thinking of the great writer who said—The more corrupt the Republic the more numerous the laws.Those who thought as he did were as anxious to preserve the children from smoking and drinking as those who 208 thought differently. But the fact was that the truth had been summed up by the writer who said—How small of all that human hearts endure, That part, which kings or laws can cause or cure.
§ SIR JOHN KENNAWAY (Devonshire, Honiton)
entirely agreed with the quotation with which the hon. Member concluded his speech, and he was certainly not at all in favour of pushing legislation too far, and interfering with habits and lessening the force of that moral suasion which ought to be, and he hoped would increasingly be, brought to bear. That applied to people not of mature age, who required protection by law. It was a very serious question, and they should be very careful how they rushed into it. After the evidence of several commissions quoted by the Under-Secretary, all practically unanimous that this was a most serious evil, and that it required some serious way of dealing with it, he should certainly support the clause as it now stood. He believed the country looked for it, and he believed apart from the mere legal force of it it would give an example and a lesson which the country thought was necessary. He hoped it would not be used in a punitive sense, and that it would be a great encouragement to parents and schoolmasters in checking this system which threatened to be a national danger.
§ MR. GULLAND (Dumfries Burghs)
regretted extremely that the Under-Secretary had made the concessions he had announced, and he thought he had not gained much up to now, because the debate had not been shortened. He regarded the smoking of cigarettes as an evil, and the mere selling as only the first part of the operation. He felt it was scarcely fair to put the penalty merely on the man who sold the cigarettes when they still allowed children to smoke them. The giving of a cigarette, too, was just as bad as selling, and anyone who encouraged the habit of cigarette-smoking among children was doing just as great harm to the growing race as the tobacconist. He regretted also that the Under-Secretary had announced his intention of dropping Clause 41, because, with the Amendment which he had down 209 on the Paper, there was the very valuable provision that he brought into touch the parent, who was to be informed that the child had been found smoking. He regarded it as a most valuable Amendment that the first approach to the subject was not even a reprimand or a fine, but an intimation to the parent that the child had been found smoking. In the majority of cases the parent might have been trusted to deal with the child in such a way that the offence would not be repeated, especially as he would know that if it were repeated he would have to come to the Court with the child and stand beside him when on his trial. He regretted very much that that provision was given up, because he felt that without the co-operation of the parent not much good would be got. But, still, he should certainly vote for the clause, and he was not very sure whom its opponents were speaking for. He had received from nobody any objection to the clause, and he thought it was a great deal to the credit of the tobacco trade that they had entered so loyally into the proposals of the hon. Gentleman. They had scarcely got the credit they deserved. Hon. Gentlemen on both sides who were opposing the clause were doing so more on theoretical than on practical grounds. Some hon. Members had talked about the making of public opinion on the subject, but the public opinion was made. He did not think hon. Gentlemen were aware of the strength of public opinion, and the very strong feeling that those who had to do with children had upon the subject. It was the voluntary workers, who were trying to put down this evil by moral suasion, who found all their efforts checked for want of legislation, who were asking for these provisions, and he hoped the House would encourage them in that desire.
§ MR. WALTER LONG (Dublin, S.)
said the hon. Gentleman asked what was the reason for the opposition to the Bill, and whether they had received any suggestions from outside the House. He had heard some startling statements in that House, but that was the first time he had heard that the activities of a Member of Parliament were to be governed entirely by representations from people outside. Obviously, so long 210 as people were freely elected, and were not merely the delegates of others, it was their duty to offer those criticisms which occurred to them as the result of their experience and knowledge, quite irrespective of representations made to them from outside. Some reference had been made to the apparent change in the attitude of the Opposition, but both the Home Secretary and the hon. Gentleman behind him, who entirely ignored the fact that many who had taken part in the debate had not had the opportunity of taking part in previous discussions on the Bill, and when hon. Gentlemen opposite found fault with some of those who spoke because they said they were not familiar with every clause of the Bill, they were assuming to themselves virtue to which he believed they had not the smallest claim. He believed the great majority of Members opposite would find themselves quite unable to answer questions on the various clauses of the Bill, which was only one out of many Bills with which they had been called upon to make themselves familiar. The fault consisted in putting into a Bill of this kind, which in itself was not controversial, and which, in regard to its main provisions, had the goodwill of everybody in the House, objectionable proposals of this kind, which, if they could be justified, and they had not yet been justified by any of the arguments they had heard, ought to be embodied in separate Bills and produced in such a form that the House understood what it was doing. He did not believe, until they came to this part of the discussion, that a fifth of the House of Commons had the faintest idea what was the legislation they were called upon to pass. So long as this kind of thing happened, so long it would be found on the Report stage that a very different attitude from that which was adopted before the Committee would be taken up in the House. He had no idea that these clauses were in the Bill. He was not a member of the Standing Committee which dealt with the measure upstairs, and he had been reading other Bills in the discussion of which he had been called upon to take part. To read every clause of every Bill introduced was absolutely impossible 211 for any man. When this Bill came before them on the Report stage he read it, and for the first time he then became aware of the fact that these clauses were in it. One or two previous speakers had asked a question which had not been answered. He thought it was a question which ought to be answered by the Irish Attorney-General. Reference had been made to language which occurred in Clauses 39 and 40. The words referred to sales to a person "apparently under the age of sixteen years." He was no lawyer, but it appeared to him that the introduction of those words meant that a very wide discretion was to be given to the police in uniform, and that in the event of their action being unjustified the words would be used to guard them from any charge that might be levelled against them. He imagined that was the reason why the words were put in. He only wished to make that comment upon it. They had heard, from time to time—not so much from that side of the House as from other quarters—criticisms passed upon the police with regard to the performance of their duties. If they were going deliberately to create new crimes, and give to the police so wide a discretion as was to be given by the language of the clauses referred to, then the least they could do was not to complain of the way in which they were doing their work, and to realise that Parliament was putting on them an invidious and difficult task. He thought it would be better to make it clear that the offence only arose when a sale was made to a child under sixteen years of age, and that the word "apparently" should be left out. He did not know whether the word had been introduced in previous Acts of Parliament. His recollection was that in previous cases the limitation was to children under a particular age. He did not think the word "apparently" had been used.
§ THE ATTORNEY - GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. CHERRY,) Liverpool, Exchange
said that under Clause 39 the offence consisted in selling to a person under sixteen years of age. If a boy was apparently over that age, but, as a matter of fact, was under the age, the vendor could not be convicted. The provision was, he thought, a very useful 212 one. Some boys at fifteen years of age looked eighteen or nineteen.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
said that was not really what he asked, but, almost unconsciously, the right hon. Gentleman had answered what he asked. Shortly, the answer amounted to this. The clause allowed vendors to be guided in regard to age solely by their judgment of the appearance of the persons buying.
§ MR. CHERRY
thought that so far as Clause 39 was concerned the effect was certainly that the vendor could not be convicted if he dealt with a boy who, as a matter of fact, was under sixteen, if in appearance he was more than sixteen. In Clause 40 the word protected a constable or a park keeper if he seized any cigarettes or cigarette papers from a boy who, though over sixteen years of age, was apparently under that age. Really the word "apparently" in the two clauses had a different effect. The hon. Member for North Armagh had referred to the bearing of Clause 39 on sales by post. The words of the clause did not apply to sales by post. If a vendor sold tobacco by post, he sold it in the ordinary course, and he could not be convicted. It was quite true that they could not stop every possible means open to boys for buying tobacco and cigarettes. They had dealt with one or two ways of restricting the sales.
§ MR. JAMES CAMPBELL (Dublin University)
said it seemed to him that the Attorney-General for Ireland, in defining the word "apparently," had furnished the House with the strongest possible argument for the omission of Section 39, because if he was right in what he said as to the true effect of the word in that section, and if he was right in the view that it meant something diametrically opposite to what it meant in the following section, then all he could say was that it was a very great hardship indeed to impose on the vendors of tobacco liability to a penalty in the way proposed.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said that if it was found that a boy who was apparently under sixteen was in fact over sixteen, I the tobacconist could not be penalised.
§ MR. JAMES CAMPBELL
said that that was exactly what he thought was intended by the section, but he understood his right hon. friend to say that the meaning of "apparently" in Section 39 was different from what it was in Section 40. The right hon. Gentleman said that the difference was that under Section 40 a police constable was protected if he challenged a youth who in fact was over sixteen, if he apparently was under that age. If that was the meaning of Section 40, the meaning of Section 39, according to his right hon. friend, was different. It made illegal a sale to any person wholly irrespective of his age, if he was apparently under sixteen. He could not conceive that that was the meaning of the section, and he should rather prefer the explanation of the Under-Secretary for the Home Department that it was intended for the protection of the vendor. Both sections were intended to prevent
§ the possibility of mistake, and to relieve a person who took an erroneous view as to age. That view of the section was, he thought, quite right. It would be a mistake to penalise a person who sold to anyone who appeared to be under sixteen, although in fact over that age. If the section were to be construed in a different sense, it would impose a hardship on vendors who sold tobacco or cigarettes to young people. He thought it was intended by the use of the word "apparently" in Sections 39 and 40 to accomplish the same end, and that was, to protect in one case the police, and in the other case the vendor, from any action or liability if, though a person was over sixteen, he presented the appearance of being under sixteen.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 231; Noes. 84. (Division List No. 248.)215
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Cooper, G. J.||Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinst.||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithn'ss-sh|
|Alden, Percy||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.|
|Ambrose, Robert||Cory, Sir Clifford John||Harwood, George|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)|
|Astbury, John Meir||Cox, Harold||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Crooks, William||Hazel, Dr. A. E.|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.||Curran, Peter Francis||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Henry, Charles S.|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)|
|Beauchamp, E.||Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.||Higham, John Sharp|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Dobson, Thomas W.||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Hodge, John|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romf'd)||Essex, R. W.||Holland, Sir William Henry|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Esslemont, George Birnie||Hope, W. Bateman (Somerset, N)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Horniman, Emslie John|
|Boland, John||Everett, R. Lacey||Hudson, Walter|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Faber, G. H. (Boston)||Hyde, Clarendon|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Ferens, T. R.||Idris, T. H. W.|
|Brace, William||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Jackson, R. S.|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Findlay, Alexander||Jacoby, Sir James Alfred|
|Branch, James||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Jardine, Sir J.|
|Brigg, John||Freeman-Thomas, Freeman||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)|
|Brodie, H. C.||Fuller, John Michael F.||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)|
|Brooke, Stopford||Fullerton, Hugh||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Gibb, James (Harrow)||Jowett, F. W.|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Gladstone, Rt Hn. Herbert John||Kearley, Sir Hudson E.|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Glen-Coats, Sir T. (Renfrew, W.||Kekewich, Sir George|
|Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Charles||Glover, Thomas||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.|
|Cameron, Robert||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Kincaid-Smith, Captain|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Laidlaw, Robert|
|Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard Knight||Greenwood, Hamar (York)||Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Gulland, John W.||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Gurdon, Rt Hn. Sir W. Brampton||Lambert, George|
|Cleland, J. W.||Hall, Frederick||Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.|
|Clough, William||Halpin, J.||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)|
|Clynes, J. R.||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose||Lehmann, R. C.|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Perks, Sir Robert William||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)||Thomasson, Franklin|
|Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Tomkinson, James|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)||Verney, F. W.|
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Vivian, Henry|
|Maclean, Donald||Rainy, A. Rolland||Walsh, Stephen|
|McCullum, John M.||Redmond, William (Clare)||Walton, Joseph|
|McCrae, Sir George||Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent|
|McLaren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)||Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n||Wardle, George J.|
|McLaren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Richardson, A.||Waring, Walter|
|McMicking, Major G.||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Maddison, Frederick||Roberts, Sir John H. (Denbighs.)||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradf'rd||Watt, Henry A.|
|Marnham, F. J.||Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Weir, James Galloway|
|Masterman, C. F. G.||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Menzies, Walter||Roe, Sir Thomas||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Micklem, Nathaniel||Rose, Charles Day||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Middlebrook, William||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Molteno, Percy Alport||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)||Whittaker, Rt. Hn. Sir Thomas P.|
|Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Morrell, Philip||Scarisbrick, T. T. L.||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarth'n|
|Morse, L. L.||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|Murray, Capt. Hn. A. C. (Kincard)||Sears, J. E.||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Murray, James (Aberdeen, E.)||Seddon, J.||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Nannetti, Joseph P.||Seely, Colonel||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)||Sherwell, Arthur James||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)|
|Nicholls, George||Shipman, Dr. John G.||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncast'r||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Norton, Capt, Cecil William||Snowden, P.||Winfrey, R.|
|Nuttall, Harry||Spicer, Sir Albert||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Stanger, H. Y.||Yoxall, James Henry|
|O'Grady, J.||Steadman, W. C.|
|O'Malley, William||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Master of Elibank and Mr. Herbert Lewis.|
|Parker, James (Halifax)||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Partington, Oswald||Summerbell, T.|
|Paulton, James Mellor||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Acland-Hood, Rt Hn. Sir Alex. F.||Fletcher, J. S.||Nolan, Joseph|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Gardner, Ernest||Oddy, John James|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hn. Hugh O.||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Radford, G. H.|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Gretton, John||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
|Balcarres, Lord||Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Guinness, W. E. (Bury S. Edm.)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Balfour, Rt Hn. A. J. (City Lond.)||Haddock, George B.||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Hamilton, Marquess of||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Helmsley, Viscount||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Byles, William Pollard||Hill, Sir Clement||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Houston, Robert Paterson||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Cave, George||Kimber, Sir Henry||Valentia, Viscount|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Collings, Rt. Hn. J. (Birmingh'm||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin, S.||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W.||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Winterton, Earl|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Doughty, Sir George||Magnus, Sir Philip||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Marks, H. H. (Kent)|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Frederick Banbury and Mr. Lupton.|
|Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan||Moore, William|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Fell, Arthur||Myer, Horatio|
|Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Nield, Herbert|
§ MR. BOWLES (Lambeth, Norwood)
, in moving to insert, after the first word "person" the word "knowingly," said that the purpose of the Amendment was clear and obvious on the face of it. It was to ensure that the penalties, disabilities, and very serious consequences which the clause entailed upon a certain person should not be imposed upon him without his "knowingly" committing the offence constituted under the Act. This Amendment was essential unless very grave and serious injustice was to be done in practice so as to bring a reproach on the House and on the law itself. The object of the clause was to prevent boys from smoking cigarettes in public places. For his part, he did not believe that it could be done; but if one believed that it could be done it should be done with reasonable care for the very serious and vital interests of those who would be involved by this legislation. It appeared to him that as the clause was drawn, the whole burden, risk, and responsibility would rest not upon the parent mainly, not on the boy mainly, but upon the small retailer who sold the cigarettes. If it were assumed that it was an evil and a wrong thing to smoke cigarettes, then, he maintained, the responsibility should be put on the parent or guardian, who, however, got off. The next responsible person, no doubt, was the boy himself, but he got off with a reprimand. The one man whom this clause would strike at inevitably every time, was the tobacconist. He was certain that the form of offence here set up against the tobacconist was entirely new and very extraordinary, because, unless he entirely misapprehended the effect of the clause, this man might be and must be, if the clause were to operate at all, haled before a Court of Summary Jurisdiction and charged with a crime which it might be shown he had neither knowledge that he was committing nor intent of committing. His knowledge of the retail tobacco trade was nil, and he had no interest in it; but it appeared to him to be a very strange thing indeed to hale a man before a Court and brand him as a criminal and perhaps ruin him in business and reputation because, in the rush of business that went on in those small shops where cigarettes were sold, a man might not have carefully looked at two or three 218 boys who came into his shop, or having honestly exercised his best judgment he had come to the conclusion that they were not "apparently" under, the age of sixteen. He did not suppose that any hon. Member would desire to screen a man who, knowing what he was doing, chose to do it for profit, or any man who, having reasonable cause to know or being in a position to have reasonable cause to know that the boy was under the age of sixteen; but unless the word he desired to put in the clause was inserted, a man might be ruined, if not financially, in reputation and in business, for doing a thing which at the time he committed it he did not know was a crime. He begged to move.
In page 23, line 14, after the first word 'person,' to insert the word 'knowingly.'"—(Mr. Bowles.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'knowingly' be there inserted."—(Mr. Bowles.)
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said he did not understand whether the hon. Member proposed to substitute for the word "apparently" after the second "person" the word "knowingly" after the first "person." The hon. Gentleman could not have both words.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said he gathered that the consequential Amendment would be moved to leave out "apparently" after the word "knowingly" had been inserted. He would point out that the effect would be to make the clause absolutely unworkable. It could rarely be proved that the tobacconist knew that the boy was under the age of sixteen. He would always say that he did not know that the boy was under sixteen. They must deal with a tobacconist who had reasonable cause to know that the boy was under sixteen. He pointed out that in a great number of statutes precisely this form of words was adopted—of using "apparently" 219 and not "knowingly." It was employed in the Pawnbrokers Act of 1872. In the Pawnbrokers Act there was a section which laid it down that they should not deal with anybody apparently under the age of twelve, and in the Intoxicating Liquors Act of 1872 a licensed person was prohibited, under a penalty, from selling to any person apparently under the age of sixteen years. The word "knowingly" was not there, and it was the law of the land operating that night in every public-house all over the Kingdom, by which publicans were debarred from selling to persons apparently under the age of sixteen. Then, again, there was the Explosive Substances Act, where provision in regard to the sale to children was in precisely the same words. Lastly, it was provided that general dealers should not sell to or purchase from any person apparently under the age of fourteen, whether he was acting on his own behalf or for any other person. Therefore, the draftsman had followed the ordinary form of words, which had not given rise to any trouble, and would not give rise to it. If the word "knowingly" were inserted no conviction could be obtained unless it was in the case of some very small child indeed. For that reason it was impossible for the Government to accept this Amendment, as it would make the clause absolutely useless.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ SIR F. BANBURY
moved the omission of the word "apparently." He presumed it was the object of the Government, having obtained the clause, to make it as workable as possible, and to inflict as little hardship as possible on people who would be convicted under the Act. The Under-Secretary had told them of certain Acts of Parliament in which the same word was used, and said that no hardship had arisen in those cases. Of course, the Explosives Act was not an Act very often used in the case of children, and, therefore, the necessity to quote it hardly arose. The Intoxicating Liquors Act was no doubt an Act which might apply to children, but unless he was very much mistaken in the Sale of Liquor to Children Bill, which was passed some five or six years ago, the word "knowingly" was 220 put in instead of "apparently." He remembered, he thought it was last session, the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Forest of Dean making some remarks upon, the bad drafting of a clause which was then before the House. He was told by the member of the Government in charge of the Bill that there was a precedent for it in such-and-such an Act of Parliament, and when the right hon. Gentleman later on in the same debate objected again to the drafting of the Act he was met with the same answer. His reply was that he did not know that there were so many Acts of Parliament so badly drafted, but the fact that there were was no reason why the Government should bring forward another Bill also badly drafted. He thought that was an excellent argument, and it seemed to him unanswerable. There was no reason why, because they made a mistake in 1872, they should perpetuate it in 1908. Then the hon. Gentleman had told them that if a man was prosecuted for an offence under this Bill and the child turned out to be over sixteen years of age, there would, of course, be no conviction. But if the Under-Secretary would turn to Section 122, subsection (2), he thought he would find he was mistaken.
§ SIR F. BANBURY
said he would like to look at the other one first. If the hon. Gentleman looked at subsection (2) he would find these words—Where on a charge or indictment for an offence under this Act, or any of the offences mentioned in the First Schedule of this Act, it is alleged that the person by or in respect of whom the offence was committed was a child or young person or was under or above any specified age, and he appears to the Court to have been at the date of the commission of the alleged offence a child or young person, or to have been under or above the specified age as the case may be, he shall for the purposes of this Act be presumed at that date to have been a child or young person or to have been under or above that age as the case may be unless the contrary is proved.
§ MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said the hon. Member ought to emphasise those 221 words "unless the contrary is proved," and the words of subsection (4) came in to the effect that it should be a defence to prove that a person apparently under a specified age was actually of or over that age. That disposed of his point.
§ SIR F. BANBURY
said that subsection (4) did, no doubt, dispose of subsection (2). It rendered subsection (2) nonsense, but why put in subsection (2) at all.
§ SIR F. BANBURY
said the Attorney-General for Ireland told them that in one section one thing meant another thing, and that when they got to another section it meant something else.
§ MR. CHERRY
pointed out that he said it had a different effect in the two clauses. In one case it affected the vendor, and in the other case it affected the parent.
§ SIR F. BANBURY
said that if it had a different effect it must have a different meaning. Let the House seriously consider what the effect of this would be. An honest tobacconist, in order to protect himself, got, hold of the Bill and studied it, and in consequence of these different meanings, he would find, when he got before the Court, that he did not understand it as he thought he did. He said that in an Act of Parliament which was creating a new crime, though after all, not a very serious one, they should make the Act very distinct, so that by no possibility could anyone misunderstand it. They must remember that the people who were to be governed by this Act were not men of great education, inasmuch as they were young children and tobacconists. The tobacconist was not a man learned in the law and capable of understanding all the intricacies of the legal mind. He thought, therefore, that it was essential that they should make it as clear as possible. If his Amendment were accepted, and "apparently" left out, what harm would be done? The intention of this Bill was that no child or young person should be allowed to buy a cigarette, but why 222 should they leave it in the way proposed? The Under-Secretary said he would not be able to get many convictions if his Amendment were accepted. Possibly where a young person was very nearly sixteen, and looked a little older, the hon. Gentleman might not be able to get a conviction; but in the majority of cases the child would be ten or twelve, and then there could be no doubt that a conviction could be obtained, and the whole thing would be exceedingly simplified by a procedure of that sort. He thought that if the Under-Secretary wished the Bill to be a success, the simpler he made it the better, and the more likely it would be that parents and tobacconists and children would obey the law. To put in a qualifying word like "apparently" made it so easy for the tobacconist to say he was quite anxious to obey the law and to his mind the youth was apparently over the age of sixteen. That was a question of opinion, and people differed tremendously in regard to these matters. It appeared to him necessary to make the Bill clearer. He begged to move.
§ *MR. FELL (Great Yarmouth)
said he was glad to second the Amendment. He had had from tobacconists a petition pointing out the great interest that they felt with regard to this clause in reference to the onus which was thrown upon them of ascertaining the age of youths or young persons who might be under sixteen. Of course, there was a responsibility thrown upon them at once if the person was under sixteen, and that was a most difficult age to ascertain. There were many people of sixteen who looked a good deal younger, and there were others who looked twenty, and the onus thrown upon the tobacconist in respect of these was so great that they had induced him to oppose this clause. Suppose half a dozen boys or young men went into a shop, and some wanted sweets and some wanted cigarettes, how was the tobacconist to discriminate between them? Having regard to the sub-clause defining the position, he really thought it would be much better to leave out the word "apparently." It was viewed with great alarm by the trade, which, after all, was an honest trade, and one in which those who engaged paid heavy duties for conducting 223 it. Instead of making it more difficult for them he did not see why they should not be encouraged.
In page 23, line 14, to leave out the word 'apparently.'"—(Sir F. Banbury.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'apparently' stand part of the Bill."
§ *MR. STUART WORTLEY (Sheffield, Hallam)
contended that if this Amendment was successful, a valuable protection would be withdrawn from this trade. He had no doubt that the word "apparently" was a protection to the trader. He also had no doubt that the existence of the appearance of the age would be a matter of fact to be found by the tribunal, and not a matter for the judgment of the trader. It was quite true that it had a curiously different effect in the two clauses. The intention was that the child should be sixteen years old and should look sixteen. There were then two conditions that had to be satisfied. In this clause this word operated to the protection of the trader and the smoker. In the next it made for the protection of the smoker alone, because it made it more difficult for the policeman to intervene. The reason for this was that the draftsman had adopted a circuitous method of saying a simple thing. He might have said: "Any person being and appearing to be sixteen," instead of which he had said something else which was capable of the construction that a person who was over sixteen, but who looked under sixteen, should be a person who should not be able to buy tobacco. The result was that in some obscure clause miles away it was necessary to put in qualifying words. The trader was in a better position with this word "apparently" than he would be if the word had been "knowingly." He hoped the Amendment would not be accepted.
§ MR. CHERRY
said the word "apparently" protected the trader and no one else. In the case of a boy who was really under the age of sixteen, but who looked eighteen, and who came in and bought cigarettes, the trader, when prosecuted, would immediately defend 224 himself by the appearance of the boy. In the converse case of a boy over sixteen, but who appeared to be under that age, the vendor by proving the boy's age would be able to escape the charge. In both cases the word "apparently" was only applicable to the vendor, and could not apply to anybody else. The right hon. Gentleman opposite and hon. Members who moved and seconded the Amendment admittedly did so in the interest of the tobacconist. If they took this section and Section 122 together, and the two cases he had mentioned, they would see that in both cases the vendor was protected.
§ MR. LAMBTON
agreed that the vendor was protected, but called attention to the effect of this word on the public. The unfortunate youth who was eighteen, but who looked younger, would not be allowed to buy cigarettes at all. If people looked younger than sixteen, the tobacconists would refuse to serve them. They would go into the tobacconist and say they wanted a packet of cigarettes, and the tobacconist would say: "You look under the age of sixteen, and I cannot serve you." That would be a distinct infringement of the liberty of the subject. Those who were over, but who looked to be under the age of sixteen, had a perfect right to go into a shop and demand to be served with tobacco. This word was no good, and might, he thought, be left out.
§ SIR F. BANBURY
called attention to the fact that the Attorney-Gneral for Ireland had forgotten to deal with the case of the boy who was under sixteen, but who looked eighteen. Such a boy might go in and be served with a packet of cigarettes. Some person who knew his real age might see this done and give information to the police. The police might then prosecute the tobacconist for selling cigarettes to a boy apparently under the age of sixteen. The defence of the tobacconist would be that the boy looked eighteen. The magistrates might admit that he did, and, having turned to Section 122, might say: "As he appears to us to be over sixteen years of age we do not convict." But the prosecutor would then point 225 out that they had not taken into consideration the last four words of the section, which were "unless the contrary was proved," and that he had absolute proof that the boy was only fifteen. In that case the magistrates would have to convict. He believed he was right in that contention.
§ MR. CHERRY
said the provision of Clause 122 would not apply to the offences under Clause 39. If the boy appeared to be over sixteen there was no offence.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
pointed out that those words did not affect the point. The tobacconist, being charged under Section 39 with the offence of selling to a person apparently under the age of sixteen, what the Court had to decide was whether the boy was or was not apparently under the age of sixteen, and the Court having found that he was not, there was no offence.
§ MR. JAMES CAMPBELL
suggested that the better plan would be to adopt the procedure prescribed in the Criminal Law Amendment Act, which was the exact opposite of this procedure. He need not describe it in detail, but that Act made it a crime to have relations with young girls under the age of sixteen. The actual crime was the fact of having such relations, but it was allowed as a defence that the girl appeared to be over that age. The procedure of this Bill was exactly the opposite, because here the offence was the sale to any persons apparently under the age of sixteen. It was quite true that by a later subsection the person accused was enabled to set up in his defence the actual age of the child or person. But the onus should not be thrown on the accused. It should fall on the prosecutor as was the case in other Acts. They should make the offence the sale to a person under sixteen, but allow it to be a defence that the person was apparently over that age. The offence was prima facie complete on its being proved that a sale had been made to a person, no matter what his age might be, if he appeared to be under 226 sixteen. By the Bill it was only afterwards that it was open to the vendor to prove what he never could prove, what he could never have the material to prove, namely, that the person served was over sixteen. The vendor could not search for the baptismal certificate of a chance customer. Why could not the Government adopt the procedure of the Criminal Law Amendment Act and make the offence prima facie complete with the sale to a person under the age of sixteen, and let it be a defence that the person was apparently older, and that therefore the vendor was deceived. If they left this section as it was, with subsections (2) and (3), which partly conflicted, there would be endless questions raised. There could be no question raised if the hon. Gentleman adopted his suggestion, because prima facie the offence would be completed by the proof that the person to whom the sale was made was in fact under the age of sixteen; but the merchant would not be compelled, as he was under this Bill, to defend himself by being asked to do what he never could do, namely, give affirmative proof of age. He could, however, defend himself by showing that the person under the age of sixteen looked, in the opinion of the jury and of the Court, more than sixteen, and therefore that would be a defence which would free him from the criminal consequences of a natural mistake. But all that was reversed by the procedure under this Bill. The offence was made complete, no matter what the age of the individual was, if only he or she appeared to be under the age of sixteen; and the accused person, the trader, could only got out of that, even though the individual was twenty years of age, by giving legal proof of his actual age. How could he do that? He again asked the hon. Gentleman to consider this point, because as the section stood, it put traders and merchants in an impossible position. It put them in the position of giving affirmative legal evidence of the ages of these customers, whose ages hovered between fifteen and seventeen or eighteen years.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said the hon. Gentleman had pointed to the analogy of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, but there were two procedures under various Acts of Parliament upon this 227 point—that under the Criminal Law Amendment Act, and that under the Licensing Acts, the Pawnbrokers Act, the Metal Dealers Act, and the Explosives Act. The Criminal Law Amendment Act dealt with offences not in the slightest degree analogous to those which occurred under the other Acts. It dealt with grave crimes for which the penalty ran up to penal servitude for life—crimes which must be the subject of indictment, and in which, since the question often turned on the precise age of the person concerned, it was rightly required that there should be strict proof from the beginning as to whether the girl was under sixteen or thirteen, according to the section under which the proceedings were taken. Now the other statutes, on which the present Bill was modelled, had reference to the selling of spirits or liquors to children, to the dealings of pawnbrokers with children, to the transactions of metal dealers with children, and to the dealings of sellers of explosives with children. Surely, those were precisely analogous cases to the sale of cigarettes to children. In all these cases, if the person was apparently under age, then there was a prima facie case against the seller which he might be able to rebut by absolute proof that the child was over the age of sixteen or fourteen, or whatever the age might be, and if he could not rebut it, then he was liable to a penalty. That was the common-sense view of the case. If they had these young persons going into shops to buy these things, they could not require the police, before the prosecution took place of the tobacconist who sold the tobacco, to get proof by a birth certificate. It would be impossible for the Act to be worked at all if that were required. They must have a common-sense clause.
§ MR. JAMES CAMPBELL
asked how it was proposed that the merchant should supply the proof of age if the prosecutor could not give the age.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
He would put it the other way. If the merchant could not give this evidence how could the prosecutor?
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
So could the seller; the two were on the same footing. But as a matter of fact, even supposing that two persons, apparently under the age of sixteen, but actually somewhat older, were unable to get cigarettes, really, he thought that would be a very good thing. The very fact that they were under size, and looked less than their real age, made it inadvisable that they should be served with cigarettes. After all this was a class of case in which above all it was desirable that the sale should be prevented. If injustice were done on either side, he should prefer it on that side rather than the other. If the word "apparently" were left out of the clause it would be made absolutely unworkable, and for these reasons he must decline to accept the Amendment.
§ MR. MOORE
The hon. Member for the City of London had also referred to subsection (2) of Clause 122, in considering this word "apparently." He commended the consideration of this subsection to the House, for he thought they would find it absolutely unintelligible. It said—Where in a charge or indictment for any offence under this Act, etc, it is alleged that the … child or young person was under or above any specified age … he shall for the purpose of this Act be presumed … to have been a child or young person … under or above that age, as the case may be, unless the contrary is proved.The clause put in an alternative which made it absolutely meaningless. Applying that clause to the case of a tobacconist who had been charged, would the Minister inform them how he was to arrive at the presumption that the child was under age, or, as the section said, above the age at the time. It was a very important difference for the tobacconist, because the onus of proof was upon him to prove his innocence, which was contrary to the practice of the country. It threw upon him the onus of proof in circumstances in which it was very difficult for him to get documentary evidence, especially in 229 towns like Liverpool and Manchester, where it would be almost impossible for him to find out the age of a particular customer. In the Bill, the only offences were those of selling to children under age, but in this section, apparently, there was no limitation as to age.
§ MR. BONAR LAW (Camberwell, Dulwich)
said that this was a point on which there really ought not to be any difference of opinion. It simply had reference to the best way of dealing with the matter in question. His right hon. friend behind him had shown in the clearest possible way that by the clause, as it stood, the burden of proof rested on the trader who sold the material. That was a point the hon. Gentleman had not dealt with. It was true, as the hon. Gentleman had said, that there were precedents both ways, but that was not the point. The point was, what was the best thing to do, and, in the nature of things, the fair way in which to deal with this matter. The hon. Gentleman said it was impossible for the prosecutor to find out the age of a person; if that were so, how in the name of common-sense was the tobacconist to find out what the age of a person was? Further, the hon. Gentleman had said that it was rather an advantage if they made the law that the tobacconist was not to sell to anyone unless he had a beard or a big moustache, who was quite safe, and a long way above the age. He suggested that they should adopt the proper course, the course adopted in almost everything, to assume that a man was innocent until he was proved to be guilty, and put the burden of proof on the prosecutor, and not on the man who sold.
§ MR. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD (Liverpool, West Derby)
said, anxious and willing as they were to protect children, they had also to consider, in
§ connection with a section like this, that common justice should be done to a large number of tradesmen. They had to remember the thousands of people in this country who were doing a perfectly legitimate business in selling tobacco and cigarettes. They had no right, in their endeavour to put an end to juvenile smoking, to adopt a clause which would do a gross injustice to the whole of the tobacconists in the kingdom. They had no right to place them in the position of being presumed to be guilty of an offence unless it was really the fact that they were guilty. It was for the prosecution to make out that the actual offence of selling cigarettes to a person under the age of sixteen had been committed. As had been pointed out, there was the further defence that if a tradesman was able to show that his customer was apparently over that age it would obviously meet the justice of the case. For these reasons, he strongly supported the Amendment.
§ LORD R. CECIL
said he could not support the Amendment for the reason, that it seemed to him that if this word were struck out, and it happened that the person to whom he sold was under sixteen, the tobacconist who sold cigarettes by post would then be guilty of the offence and have no defence at all. Again, a much simpler case, if a boy sent an older brother into a shop to buy for him cigarettes, in law the transaction would be with the younger brother and the tobacconist would be guilty of the offence. He quite appreciated the difficulty raised by his hon. friend, although he would not be able to vote for his Amendment.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 241; Noes, 75. (Division List No. 249.)233
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Benn, W. (T'w's Hamlets, S. Geo.|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Bennett, E. N.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Berridge, T. H. D.|
|Alden, Percy||Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Bethell, Sir J. H. (Easex, Romf'rd|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Black, Arthur W.|
|Armstrong, W. C. Heaton||Beauchamp, E.||Boland, John|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry||Beck, A. Cecil||Boulton, A. C. F.|
|Astbury, John Meir||Bellairs, Carlyon||Bowerman, C. W.|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonp'rt||Brace, William|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Hope, W. Bateman (Somerset, N.||Richardson, A.|
|Branch, James||Horniman, Emslie John||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Brigg, John||Horridge, Thomas Gardner||Roberts, Sir John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Brodie, H. C.||Hudson, Walter||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Brooke, Stopford||Hyde, Clarendon||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Idris, T. H. W.||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Jackson, R. S.||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Byles, William Pollard||Jardine, Sir J.||Rose, Charles Day|
|Cameron, Robert||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard Knight||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Kearley, Sir Hudson E.||Scarisbrick, T. T. L.|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Kekewich, Sir George||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester|
|Cleland, J. W.||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.||Sears, J. E.|
|Clough, William||Laidlaw, Robert||Seddon, J.|
|Clynes, J. R.||Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster||Seely, Colonel|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Lambert, George||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W.||Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E)||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington)||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||Levy, Sir Maurice||Snowden, P.|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Cox, Harold||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Crooks, William||Lupton, Arnold||Steadman, W. C.|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Lyell, Charles Henry||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Maclean, Donald||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.||M'Callum, John M.||Summerbell, T.|
|Dobson, Thomas W.||M'Crae, Sir George||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||M'Micking, Major G.||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Essex, R. W.||Maddison, Frederick||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Mallet, Charles K.||Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E.|
|Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)||Tomkinson, James|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Marnham, F. J.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Ferens, T. R.||Menzies, Walter||Verney, F. W.|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Micklem, Nathaniel||Vivian, Henry|
|Findlay, Alexander||Middlebrook, William||Walsh, Stephen|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Molteno, Percy Alport||Walton, Joseph|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Morrell, Philip||Wardle, George J.|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn Herbert John||Morse, L. L.||Waring, Walter|
|Glen-Coats, Sir T. (Renfrew, W.)||Murray, Capt. Hn. A. C. (Kincard||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Glover, Thomas||Murray, James (Aberdeen, E.)||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Myer, Horatio||Watt, Henry A.|
|Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Greenwood, Hamar (York)||Nicholls, George||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Gulland, John W.||Nuttall, Harry||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Gurdon, Rt Hn. Sir W. Brampton||O'Grady, J.||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||O'Malley, William||Whittaker, Rt. Hn. Sir Thomas P.|
|Hall, Frederick||Parker, James (Halifax)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Partington, Oswald||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil||Paulton, James Mellor||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen|
|Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithn'ss-sh||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.||Perks, Sir Robert William||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Harwood, George||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Hazel, Dr. A. E.||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)||Winfrey, R.|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Rainy, A. Rolland||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Henry, Charles S.||Raphael, Herbert H.||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)|
|Higham, John Sharp||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro')||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Master of Elibank and Mr. Herbert Lewis.|
|Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Rees, J. D.|
|Hodge, John||Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th|
|Holland, Sir William Henry||Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n|
|Acland-Hood, Rt Hn Sir Alex. F.||Guinness, W. E. (Bury S. Edm.)||Radford, G. H.|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Hamilton, Marquess of||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
|Balcarres, Lord||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel.|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Balfour, Rt Hn A. J. (City Lond.)||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Helmsley, Viscount||Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hill, Sir Clement||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Houston, Robert Paterson||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Kerry, Earl of||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Cave, George||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham)||Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Collings, Rt. Hn. J. (Birmingh'm||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin, S)||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Doughty, Sir George||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||M'Arthur, Charles||Winterton, Earl|
|Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan||Marks, H. H. (Kent)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.||Younger, George|
|Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Moore, William|
|Fletcher, J. S.||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Frederick Banbury and Mr. Fell.|
|Gardner, Ernest||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)||Nield, Herbert|
|Gretton, John||Oddy, John James|
|Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington|
§ SIR F. BANBURY
moved to amend the same clause by substituting twelve for sixteen years as the apparent age of a person to whom it should be an offence to sell tobacco. He did not think it was necessary to elaborate this point, because sixteen was a good age at which a boy might be allowed to smoke without injury.
§ *MR. RAWLINSON
in seconding the Amendment said the object of the section was to prevent people under sixteen from smoking. To put into this clause the age of sixteen was a great hardship. This was a section which made it an offence to sell to any person apparently under the age of sixteen, tobacco or cigars, and, in view of that fact the limit ought to be considerably under the age at which it became criminal to smoke. By this proposal they were putting a very severe restriction upon people who sold tobacco. Surely there ought to be some margin between the age at which it became penal to smoke and the age at which they were entitled to sell. If they made it penal for the tobacconist to sell to anybody under the age of sixteen they would find great difficulty in enforcing the Bill because the sympathies of the public would not go as far as the Bill proposed. He thought the Govern- 234 ment might well accept this or some similar Amendment.
In page 23, line 15, to leave out the word 'sixteen' and to insert the word 'twelve,'"—(Sir F. Banbury.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word sixteen' stand part of the clause."
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
expressed his obligation to the hon. Baronet for moving his Amendment so succinctly. He could not follow the arguments of the hon. and learned Member opposite that it was necessary to have a different age in Clause 39 from that which was contained in Clause 40. If they considered it was wrong for a person under the age of sixteen to smoke it was equally wrong for a tobacconist to sell to a person under that age, and the most natural thing to do was to fix the same age in both cases. He did not see why they should fix a different age for the selling of tobacco. As for the undergraduate who looked under sixteen and might be refused cigarettes, such undergraduates would not be frequently seen either at Oxford or Cambridge. The proposal contained in the clause followed the recommendation of the Commissions who had discussed, the subject 235 and they recommended sixteen as a reasonable and proper age.
§ MR. RAWLINSON
said he was aware that the Commissions suggested sixteen in Section 41, but they did not suggest that it should be made penal to sell at that age.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said they suggested sixteen generally. The ages between twelve and sixteen were the important ages with which they had to deal, and the evil was very slight under twelve years of age. The whole subject was discussed very fully in Committee, and after a long debate the age of sixteen was decided upon by the large majority of two to one.
§ MR. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD
said this Amendment had no relation to the age at which a person should be allowed to smoke. If this section had such a relation then, of course, there would be a great deal in the arguments to which they had just listened. This was a penal section which was going to hit the tobacconist, because it was going to make it an offence to sell to an individual. It would also be an offence to give to such person for his own use any cigarettes or cigarette papers. It struck him that this was altogether on a different basis from the section which said at what age it should really be lawful for a young person to smoke. They were dealing with the question as to whether a man should be fined £2 for the first offence, £5 for the second offence, and £10 for the third offence. They ought to be very careful in dealing with such a section, which imposed for the first time upon an immense body of tradesmen all over the country something which made this a penal offence for which they could be convicted and fined such sums as £2, £5, or £10. Although he could not agree with the hon. Baronet that the age of sixteen should be reduced for the purposes of this penal section to such a low age as twelve, he thought it would be reasonable to make the age something less than the age at which for other purposes in the Act it was lawful for a young person to smoke. 236 He would support the hon. Baronet if he would make his Amendment fourteen instead of sixteen.
§ MR. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD
said they were now dealing with a penal clause which imposed fines upon these poor tobacconists, and they ought to be exceedingly careful to see that they did not inflict a gross injustice upon a very honourable set of tradesmen. He hoped that some substantial reduction of the age would be made.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ SIR F. BANBURY moved to leave out words in the clause the effect of which Amendment would be to permit the sale of cigarettes or cigarette papers to a person under sixteen if for the use of a person over that age. The effect of the clause as it stood would be that if a poor man who had not a servant desired to send his son out to buy something to smoke he would not be able to do so. In Clause 43 it was enacted that no proceedings should be taken against a person purchasing cigarettes or cigarette-papers if he were employed by the sender. A man who kept a servant would be able to send that servant for cigarettes or cigarette-papers, but a man who was not able to keep a servant would not be able to send his son or daughter under the age of sixteen to purchase cigarettes or cigarette papers. He could not help saying that if ever there was class legislation it would be in this case. This proviso enacted that a person who could afford to keep a servant could do certain things although the servant might be under sixteen, whilst the poor man could not enjoy this privilege because he could not afford to pay a servant. He did not know whether that argument was before the Government when they drew up this clause, but he thought he had now made it clear what would be the effect of the proposal. He did not wish to waste time unnecessarily, and he would appeal to the Under-Secretary to put the person who was not well off in the same position as a person who was well off. He begged to move.237
§ LORD R. CECIL ,
in seconding, appealed to the Under-Secretary to accept this Amendment because it would not make any serious difference to the Bill. If in point of fact the cigarettes were bought by a person for his own use an offence would be committed, but if they were genuinely bought for somebody else an offence would not be committed, and he submitted that that was not an unreasonable provision. The Under-Secretary would see the great difficulty in which he was placed by forbidding altogether the sending of boys to a tobacconist. By Section 43 anybody who could afford to keep a servant would be free from the effect of the clause. It was rather singular that if they wished to send for tobacco or a large cigar they could send a boy, but if they wished to send for a cigarette or a cigarette paper an offence would be committed. Surely that was very unreasonable, and it would not be the wish of the Under-Secretary to lay down that working men might smoke cigars or tobacco as much as they liked, and send their boys for them, whilst he forbade them sending their boys for cigarettes or cigarette papers. A very grave question would arise under Section 43. If a boy was in one's service one would be entitled to send him. The Under-Secretary knew the great difficulty of deciding who was in a person's service and who was not. It would be quite easy to arrange that a boy should be technically in a person's service, and the moment they had done that they would be free to send him to any tobacconist in the kingdom for cigarettes. Those words really formed part of the Bill when the Under-Secretary had in mind a different conception of what he required by legislation. A great many exceptions had been made, and the Under-Secretary would do well to accept this Amendment, which would not affect the working of the Bill and would go a long way to meet the views of those who were opposed to this clause.
Another Amendment proposed to the Bill—
In page 23, line 15, to leave out the word 'whether.'"—(Sir Frederick Banbury.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'whether' stand part of the Bill.238
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said that from the first a distinction had been drawn between cigarettes and other tobacco. The natural course, no doubt, would be to say that no cigarettes, or tobacco, or cigars should be sold to any person under the age of sixteen. But what were the circumstances with which they were faced? The case of the man who sent out his boy to fetch some tobacco was one which they were anxious to meet, because, on the one hand, while they wanted to stop the evil of juvenile smoking, believing that in the interest of the population that was necessary, they did not want to say, merely because they wanted to stop the smoking of cigarettes by boys, that a working-man who wished to stay at home might not send out his boy for an ounce of tobacco for his pipe. On the other hand, if they were to say that cigarettes might be sold to a boy, unless the tobacconist knew that they were for his own use, as the Amendment proposed, they would be putting into the Bill a provision which would be obviously inoperative. There might be some cases in which it could be proved that the tobacconist had reason to know that the cigarettes were for the boy's own use, but they would be very rare. He asked hon. Members not to look at this Amendment from the point of view of general hostility to the clause. If what they wanted was a clause which would really stop juvenile smoking, would it be of any use to say that a tobacconist should not sell cigarettes to a boy for his own use, but might sell them if the boy said that they were not for his own use? If they did so, the clause would be inoperative. On the other hand, were they to say that no tobacco should be sold to any child whether for his own use or not? That would be very harsh on a parent who could not send his boy to buy tobacco. After all, the evil with which they had to deal was not that of little boys who smoked cigars. They were dealing with the widespread and growing evil arising out of the practice of little boys smoking cigarettes. The Bill provided that a tobacconist might not sell other tobacco to a boy if he knew that it was for the boy's own use, but he admitted that the provision was not likely to be frequently acted upon. But there might be cases in which a parent knew that 239 his boy smoked, and, being most anxious to stop the smoking, he would tell the tobacconists in the neighbourhood that they were not to sell tobacco of any kind to the boy. The provision would do no harm. If they wanted an operative clause it must be general and complete, providing that no cigarettes were to be sold under any circumstances unless the child was regularly employed as a messenger. After that explanation he thought the House would see that the clause was not so unreasonable as hon. Gentlemen opposite had endeavoured to make out. An hon. Member who had spoken had misconceived the meaning of the latter part of Clause 43 dealing with servants. He would not detain the House explaining it because the whole of that part of Clause 43 would come out as the result of a consequential Amendment.
§ MR. JESSE COLLINGS
said they all admitted that the hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill was thoroughly well acquainted with it. His explanations had, as a rule, been very clear, but the explanation they had just heard was not so clear as usual. He wished to point out how the clause as it stood would operate in villages throughout the country. If a messenger under sixteen years of age from the squire, the parson, or a farmer, went into a little village shop, he would get what he wanted, but if a boy said he came from his father he could not, even although the shopkeeper knew the child personally, the father and the family, and knew that the order was bona fide. He did not see why the Amendment could not be accepted. It would make the matter clear. Boys at present did not smoke pipes and cigars, but if cigarette-smoking was stopped they would be driven to pipe and cigar-smoking. In fact, the clause as it stood was provocative of an increase of smoking among the juvenile population, and therefore he thought they ought to make it as little mischievous as possible. It was mischievous under any circumstances, but they could, by accepting the Amendment, make it less mischievous.
§ VISCOUNT HELMSLEY (Yorkshire, N.R., Thirsk)
said he was not satisfied with the explanation given by the Under- 240 Secretary, nor was he sure that justice had been secured in this case. He thought the hon. Gentleman gave the whole case away when he said that he did not mean to stop boy messengers from being sent for tobacco or cigars. It was quite easy for boys to turn the tobacco they purchased into cigarettes. It seemed to him that some other provision was required, and he could not see why they should not throw the burden of proof on the tobacconist. Let him sell to a young person unless he had reason to believe that he was buying for his own use. He thought that would meet the case. It was a difficulty which the Under-Secretary recognised, and which he met in another part of the Bill. He thought it would be a great hardship if boys could not be employed as messengers for this purpose.
§ MR. RAWLINSON
said the noble Lord the Member for East Marylebone scarcely put the case high enough. As the Bill stood a boy messenger in uniform could not be sent for a packet of cigarettes.
§ MR. RAWLINSON
said that as the Bill stood a boy messenger in uniform could not be sent from a club for a packet of cigarettes, although everybody knew that he was only sent to fetch the cigarettes. Although the tobacconist knew well that the boy was a messenger from a club, he would not be able to sell cigarettes to him without committing an offence. Surely, therefore, the words of the Amendment should be inserted. If something of the kind was not done, it really did seem to him that what was proposed would be an extraordinary interference with the liberty of the subject.
§ MR. MOORE
said he wished to draw attention shortly to a matter which the noble Lord the Member for East Marylebone and others had failed to deal with. This clause dealt only with boy messengers, and a former clause dealt with boys smoking 241 in the parks. There was no clause which interfered with girls smoking in the parks. If the words proposed to be left out were taken from the clause, then it would read that the offence was to sell to a messenger for his own use. It had been stated that on the medical evidence given before the Commission it did not appear that there was any smoking among girls amounting to a national evil. If there was no smoking among girls it was obvious that cigarettes sold to a young girl would not be for her own use. Take the case of a father who had no sons, and who might want to send his little girl to buy cigarettes for his own use. Unless there was the exemption proposed by the hon. Baronet, the father could not do that. It would be absurd to suggest that a little girl of twelve years of age wanted to buy cigarettes to smoke herself. He thought that if a child could be sent out to buy candles, meat, or any other household commodity, it should not be made an offence to sell a little girl a packet of cigarettes, where no danger of her using them herself might be apprehended. He pressed the hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill to accept the Amendment.
§ *MR. CAVE
thought they were all agreed that the law on this subject ought to be simple and clear. If a boy fifteen years of age went into a tobacconist's shop and said that his father or his employer had sent him for a packet of tobacco or a cigar of some size, because a small cigar had not yet been defined, the tobacconist might serve him; but if the boy said that his father had seat him for a packet of cigarettes or a small cigar, then no sale could safely be made. An exception was to be made in the case of a boy messenger in uniform and employed by a company, but not in that of a pageboy in uniform employed by a private individual. Was not that perfectly absurd? Was it not making a distinction which had no real foundation in reason and which would lead to a considerable hardship on tradesmen? Then, how was a tradesmen to know whether a cigar was small or large? There was no definition as to its length or thickness. The clause as it stood would only encourage children to smoke large cigars or to buy large cigars and to cut them into small 242 pieces, for the purpose of smoking them; or to buy tobacco and then make it into cigarettes themselves. A simple way of dealing with the difficulty would be to make the proviso in Clause 44 apply to all tobacco sales. That was to say, that if a tradesman was satisfied in his own mind that a child was not going to smoke the tobacco or the cigar he might sell it to the child. That was a reasonable precaution to take to protect the child, and, at the same time, to allow people to send their children to buy cigarettes for them.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said that the prohibition of the sale of cigarettes to children must be made absolute in order to be made effective. An exception had been made in the case of boys sent by a messenger company, but that was no reason why he should make other concessions in the case of other boys.
§ MR. JESSE COLLINGS
asked how the concession of the hon. Gentleman would affect the great majority of towns and villages where no district messengers existed?
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said that in these places the father could not send his son for cigarettes; he must send someone other than a child. As a matter of fact, cigarettes were not smoked so frequently as tobacco by the working classes. An exception had been made in the case of messenger boys employed by a company to meet an exceptional case, but he did not see why that concession should be made use of in order to destroy the efficacy of the remainder of the Bill. That was what the acceptance of the Amendment would do.
§ MR. CLAUDE HAY (Shoreditch, Hoxton)
said that the hon. Gentleman had endeavoured to consult public convenience by making the concession in the case of page boys or uniformed messengers of a messenger company, but he thought it was unfair and unreasonable to give this advantage to a small section of the public, and deny it to others.
§ MR. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD
said he gathered that the objection of the Under-Secretary to the Amendment was that if it were adopted it would give tobacconists an opportunity of evading the penal clause of the Act. The tobacconist would be able to say that the boy had come into his shop and bought the cigarettes, stating that they were for his father or someone else, and that he had served him on that footing. They were all agreed that it was very desirable to prevent juvenile smoking, but they might be excused for taking a little extra time over this penal clause, seeing they were not dealing with boys or girls, but with the penalty to be imposed on the tobacconist. The clause as it stood would lead to some ludicrous results. Supposing he sent his son or a boy in his employment to a tobacconist for the purpose of purchasing a large cigar, or a packet of tobacco, the tobacconist could sell it; but if he sold the boy a small cigar or a packet of cigarettes there was a penalty. He thought that few people could form a very intelligent idea of the penalties which would be incurred in conducting the business of a tobacconist. If he sent a boy messenger in uniform, who by the way only existed in London—[At this point a woman ran into the Chamber within the Bar, and exclaimed: "Leave off discussing the children's question, and turn your attention to the women first." The woman was immediately carried out of the House by one of the attendants.] What he desired to point out was that of all the juveniles who indulged in smoking the very worst were those belonging to the Boys' Messenger Brigade, and yet these were the boys of whom the Under-Secretary had made an exception, and allowed to be sold cigarettes and small cigars. If in Liverpool, where there were no message boys in uniform, he sent a messenger to buy cigarettes, that would be an offence; but if he sent him to buy a large cigar there would be no offence. Undoubtedly at the present moment the working classes of this country did not consume large
§ quantities of cigarettes, but smoked tobacco in pipes. On the Continent, however, things were very different, and the habit of cigarette-smoking among the working classes might very easily be brought to this country. He had, indeed, himself noticed a very large increase of the practice of smoking cigarettes on the part of adults. He did not think the Under-Secretary's argument was sound that if they stopped the selling of cigarettes to boys they met the whole difficulty with which they intended to deal. Boys would smoke a small or large cigar, or anything which happened to be rolled up in tobacco-leaf. He would also point out in this connection this curious fact, that if a small cigar contained cabbage leaf there would be no offence, because in order to constitute an offence it had to contain tobacco. Therefore, it would be a good defence on the part of a tobacconist to say: "This is not tobacco; it is some weed, and entirely an imitation." At all events he suggested that if under this penal clause they were going to inflict these penalties of £2, £5, and £10, it ought to be proved to the Court at the time the penalty was inflicted that the sale was actually made to the juvenile for his own use. He very strongly supported this Amendment, and it seemed to him that when they were exacting a penalty they ought to prove the offence, and it could not be proved if a young boy or girl was sent by a parent or anybody else to purchase cigarettes. They had a perfect right to send him, and it was a gross interference with the liberty of the subject and with the trade of a large number of tradesmen that offences should be manufactured in this way, and that they should incur a penalty unless it could be shown by the prosecution that the intention of the young persons was to smoke the cigarettes themselves. He proposed to support the Amendment.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 187; Noes, 50. (Division List No. 250.)247
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch||Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Armstrong, W. C. Heaton||Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.|
|Alden, Percy||Atherley-Jones, L.||Balfour, Robert (Lanark)|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.||Rees, J. D.|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th|
|Beauchamp, E.||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n|
|Beck, A. Cecil||Hazel, Dr. A. E.||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Bell, Richard||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Roberts, Sir John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Henry, Charles S.||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradf'rd|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonp'rt||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Benn, W. (T'w'r Hamlets, S. Geo)||Higham, John Sharp||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Hodge, John||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romf'rd||Holland, Sir William Henry||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Hope, W. Bateman (Somerset, N.||Rose, Charles Day|
|Black, Arthur W.||Horniman, Emslie John||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Hudson, Walter||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Idris, T. H. W.||Scarisbrick, T. T. L.|
|Brace, William||Jardine, Sir J.||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Jenkins, J.||Sears, J. E.|
|Branch, James||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Brigg, John||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Brodie, H. C.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Brooke, Stopford||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Laidlaw, Robert||Snowden, P.|
|Byles, William Pollard||Lambert, George||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Cameron, Robert||Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E)||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Clough, William||Levy, Sir Maurice||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Lupton, Arnold||Summerbell, T.|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Maclean, Donald||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||M'Callum, John M.||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Cowan, W. H.||M'Crac, Sir George||Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E.|
|Cox, Harold||M'Kenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Tomkinson, James|
|Crooks, William||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)||Verney, F. W.|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Maddison, Frederick||Vivian, Henry|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S)||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston||Walsh, Stephen|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Marnham, F. J.||Walters, John Tudor|
|Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Massie, J.||Walton, Joseph|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Menzies, Walter||Wardle, George J.|
|Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||Micklem, Nathaniel||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Essex, R. W.||Middlebrook, William||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Molteno, Percy Alport||Watt, Henry A.|
|Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Findlay, Alexander||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen||Weir, James Galloway|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Morse, L. L.||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Myer, Horatio||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Furness, Sir Christopher||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn Herbert John||Newnes, Sir George (Swansea)||Whittaker, Rt. Hn. Sir Thomas P.|
|Glover, Thomas||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Nuttall, Harry||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||O'Grady, J.||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Greenwood, Hamar (York)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.|
|Gulland, John W.||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Winfrey, R.|
|Gurdon, Rt. Hn. Sir W. Brampton||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Hall, Frederick||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Radford, G. H.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES— Master of Elibank and Mr. Herbert Lewis.|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)|
|Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r.)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro')|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hn. Sir Alex. F.||Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham)||Fletcher, J. S.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Collings, Rt. Hn. J. (Birmingh'm||Forster, Henry William|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.||Doughty, Sir George||Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Gretton, John|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan||Guinness, Hn. R. (Haggerston)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Faber, George Danison (York)||Guinness, W. E. (Bury S. Edm.)|
|Cave, George||Fell, Arthur||Harris, Frederick Leverton|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Hay, Hon. Claude George|
|Helmsley, Viscount||Moore, William||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||Oddy, John James||Valentia, Viscount|
|Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Lane-Fox, G. R.||Randles, Sir John Scurrah||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin, S)||Renwick, George||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Lowe, Sir Francis William||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Frederick Banbury and Lord Robert Cecil.|
|Magnus, Sir Philip||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Meysey-Thompson, E. C.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
§ SIR F. BANBURY
moved to amend Clause 39, by leaving out the words dealing with the giving to a young person of cigarettes or cigarette papers.
In page 23, line 16, to leave out from the word 'not' to the word 'he' in line 19."—(Sir F. Banbury.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ SIR F. BANBURY
moved to omit Clause 40 (Forfeiture of tobacco). He said he did not know whether the Under - Secretary would accept the Amendment, but he was afraid he was not going to be so reasonable, as he was in regard to the last Amendment. The effect of this clause was to give power to a constable or a park-keeper, or other person having the powers of a constable, and being in uniform, to seize any cigarettes or cigarette papers in the possession of any boy, apparently under the age of sixteen, whom he found smoking in any street or public place. First of all, he thought they were putting a very hard task upon the police and park-keepers. The park-keeper or a policeman saw a boy whom he thought was under sixteen, and he was to be the judge in that matter. A constable or park-keeper might have a grudge against a certain boy, and he might arrest him because he said he thought he was under sixteen. That appeared to him to be an illegal offence. The boy might say he was over sixteen, and that he could prove it, yet nevertheless he would be taken to the police- 248 station and charged because he was apparently under the age of sixteen, and because he was a young-looking lad the Court would decide that the constable was right. The result would be that the boy would be discharged, but would have no right of redress. He thought the clause was a very dangerous one. The duties the police carried out were very difficult, and they carried them out with great tact, and no one would wish to put them at loggerheads with the people and make them unpopular with a large section of the population. That was one reason why he objected to this clause. Then he noticed that the clause said—It shall be the duty of a constable and of a park-keeper or other person having the powers of a constable, and being in uniform, to seize any cigarettes or cigarette papers in the possession of any boy apparently under the age of sixteen.He wished to know why the word "boy" was suddenly interpolated in this clause. In every other clause he understood the words were "a child or young person."
§ SIR F. BANBURY
regretted it should be the fact, but he believed it was a fact that at the present time many women did smoke, and what they smoked was cigarettes, and if it was necessary to stop the smoking of cigarettes by any one under the age of sixteen, it was as necessary to stop girls as boys.
§ MR. BYLES (Salford, N.)
suggested that the hon. Member should look at the next Amendment on the Paper in the name of the Under-Secretary to leave out the word "boy" and insert the word "person."
§ SIR F. BANBURY
said that that certainly disposed of his objection upon that point. But it was only another instance 249 of the careless drafting of the Bill. After all, one could only go by the words in the Bill. But to come back to the police constable and the seizure of cigarettes in the possession of any boy who was found smoking in a public place. It had been pointed out by one hon. Member that if a boy was smoking a cigarette in a field he might lean over the gate and puff his smoke in the policeman's face, and that after he had finished his cigarette he could safely come into the road. The same argument applied to many places besides a field. It applied to the area of a private house. What was to prevent a boy, when he saw a policeman coming, going into an area and smoking? It also applied to the doorway of a house, and in the poorer districts the doors of the houses were frequently open. The effect of this clause was that, though a boy might smoke in the open doorway of his father's house, he might not smoke on the pavement a few feet away. It was absolutely absurd. Where was the harm of smoking in a public place as against a private place? The deterioration of the boy was the same in each case. He thought it would be well in the interests of the Bill if the hon. Gentleman left out what he might call these little nagging clauses. It must be remembered also that the difficulties of the constable would be increased because the person found smoking would, in the majority of cases, be near the age of sixteen. The constable would, therefore, find himself in a very difficult position, and in all probability he would look the other way if he saw a cigarette in a young person's mouth. It had been said over and over again, that all the clauses which had been discussed that day would become a dead letter, but he went further and said that if this sort of clause was insisted upon the whole Bill would become a dead letter because it would become ridiculous. No constable would take any step in a case in which he thought it would be difficult to obtain a conviction. He observed that there was no penalty in this clause, and if there was no penalty that in itself was a strong reason for deleting the clause. A boy of eighteen who looked young might be seized by a police constable 250 who might say: "You are smoking; I must search you."
§ SIR F. BANBURY
said that in that case, so far as he could see, the Government having put down a clause and having subsequently put down Amendments to render it nugatory, it was unnecessary for him to do more than move the omission of the clause. He begged to move.
§ MR. ATHERLEY-JONES (Durham, N.W.) ,
in seconding the Motion, said he had abstained from taking any part in these discussions because he thought the hon. Gentleman in charge of the measure had made so many concessions that all the efficacy of this clause had disappeared. All that remained now was the fact that a tobacconist might not sell, except under circumstances which there was ample scope for evading, cigarettes to a person apparently under the age of sixteen. That was as far as the House had legislated at present. They had spent a great many hours, a lamentable waste of time, upon an excrescence of the Bill which was no part of the Bill, and which ought never to have been brought into it. What remained was that they were going to give power to the police officer or park constable, or anybody who wore a uniform to molest boys and young women in the streets. He very much regretted that the Under-Secretary had reinserted the provision which allowed no sexual distinctions. The hon. Member had previously in the Committee assented to young women being liberated from the indignity of a search. Although the hon. Gentleman now eliminated "search," he imposed on young women who might be smoking in the streets the indignity of having snatched from them by force any cigarette they might be smoking or any cigarette paper in their hand. He thought if such a thing happened to a respectable young woman in the streets of London something more would be heard of it. But how ineffective the whole thing was, First they had to get 251 the young person smoking a cigarette in the street, and then they had to catch him. A boy was supposed to know the law. The boy seeing the constable coming immediately concealed the cigarette he was smoking, or the cigarette paper he had in his hand. And because a boy or young woman apparently under the age of sixteen was seen smoking they were to be exposed to the indignity of an assault. How many young women within the acquaintance of hon. Members themselves were there not who were over sixteen and looked younger? Besides, the number of fish they were going to catch with this net was so very small that it was really idle to put this machinery in motion He had as a lawyer some experience of various Acts, and he submitted that it would be a dangerous violation of the spirit of our laws that they should allow an officer of a certain class of life to take on himself to put the law in force without any judicial inquiry. That was a very dangerous power to confer, and he thought it was a power which might be abused. He could conceive, even if the power were bona fide exercised, that high-spirited lads would very much resent action of this kind. He knew that his noble friend opposite was theoretically in sympathy with the idea of stopping juvenile smoking, and he was very much inclined to agree with him in the view fiat this Bill was well intended; still, he did not think they ought to risk entrusting these powers to police officers and park-keepers, having regard to the indefiniteness of the provisions, and how little they would stop smoking. He thought they were exposing children to danger; they were inviting breaches of the peace; they were causing great annoyance; they were presenting temptations for the exercise of overbearing authority to persons who were not necessarily police officers, but whom they endowed with these powers; and he thought his hon. friend would be well advised if he were to do away with these powers which he proposed to confer. It was on the whole a wholesome provision to say to a shopkeeper that he must not sell cigarettes or cigarette-papers to young children, and in regard to that the hon. Gentleman, he thought, had reached far enough. But under provisions for the chance cases of boys 252 smoking in the streets, they Would have lads offering themselves up as sacrifices; or, with that cunning which belonged to boys, and which they were Supposed to lose when they became older, they would be able to scent the policemen and to hide the cigarette or cigarette-paper. This provision invited policemen and park-keepers, who were not immaculate, to molest, interfere with, and annoy persons, and still more to molest, interfere with, and annoy those whom they might choose to think had cigarette papers or cigarettes, or intended to smoke, or were smoking. He gathered that his hon. friend had his doubts about this kind of legislation, and he appealed to him, in order that the Bill might be made as little annoying and as little irksome as possible, to drop this clause. He did not think it would hurt the provision against the shopkeepers, which was an excellent one on the whole, and he would meet the feeling of those who had a strong objection to any interference with individual liberty by conferring on inferior ministers of the law powers which should only be exercised by persons occupying a very much higher and more responsible status.
In page 23, line 24, to leave out Clause 40."—(Sir F. Banbury.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out to the word 'boy' in page 23, line 27, stand part of the Bill."
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said that the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London had raised several objections to this clause. In the first place, he objected to the word "apparently" under the age of sixteen, saying that it would be very hard on the policeman or park-keeper to have imposed upon him the duty of deciding whether a boy was above or below that age. The word "apparently" was put in for the protection of the policeman and park-keeper. It would be far harder upon him if the word were omitted and the clause were to read that a policeman or park-keeper should seize cigarettes in the possession of any boy under the age of sixteen, whom he found smoking in any street or public place, 253 because then he might make a mistake owing to a person who apparently was far below the age subsequently proving to be above sixteen. The hon. Member who had just spoken, and the hon. Baronet who moved the Amendment, objected to the clause on the ground that it was impossible to enforce, by means of the agency of the law, minute regulations of this kind. The duties of policemen and park-keepers were not concerned only or even mainly with the suppression of grave forms of crime. They performed many functions of a minute character quite analogous to this. A boy who played pitch and toss did an illegal act, and the policeman had, not indeed to take away the money, but he had to take the boy before an ordinary police Court for that offence, and have him charged with gaming. That was one of the most frequent charges against juvenile offenders. Again, boys playing football in the street were guilty of an offence which the police had to and did suppress; and the damaging of shrubs and plants—a comparatively small offence—had to be stopped by park-keepers. All these were matters of minute detail which had to be enforced by the very class of people whom it was proposed to empower to stop smoking in the street by juveniles. The hon. Baronet had complained of the careless drafting of the Bill, pointing out that whereas in other clauses the word "person" was used, in this the word "boy" was employed. As introduced, the Bill used the word "person" in this clause, but in Committee grave objection was taken to the clause, on the ground that, since it would give power to constables to seize cigarettes in the possession of a girl, it impliedly gave the power to a policeman to search a girl, and in order to meet that objection he said in Committee he would omit the word "person" and insert "boy." Subsequent discussion revealed the fact that the Committee generally desired that it should be clearly stated that there should be no right to search at all, and the ultimate outcome was that he undertook to insert words that there should be on the part of the constable no right of search of any person found smoking in a public place, and that when that was done the word "person" should be reinserted 254 in order to make the Bill uniform, and avoid any distinction between the sexes. The hon. Member who had just spoken had not been fair to the clause, because no action could be taken unless the person was actually smoking in a street or public place, and, if a girl was smoking in a street or public place, he did not think it would be so great an injury to personal liberty for a constable to go up to her and say: "You must not smoke, and I must take possession of your cigarette." The hon. Baronet wanted to know why they drew the line at a public place, and asked whether it was not just as harmful for a child to smoke in its father's house as in the street. No doubt it was, but, as a matter of fact, they could not stretch the arm of the law further than a public place or street. Many other things, deleterious and objectionable as they might be, were only offences if committed in a public place. No doubt the boundary of a public place, like all boundaries, might give rise to inconsistencies, but that was so merely because that was as far as any legislation could go. The hon. Baronet had objected to the clause because it inflicted no penalty on the child found smoking in the street or public place, but he was perfectly certain if there had been a penalty imposed the hon. Baronet would have objected and said it was intolerable. The proposal was based upon the recommendation of the Committee of the House of Lords, but there was no body, apparently, which aroused the contempt of the hon. Baronet more than a Committee of the other House. It was a fact that the House of Lords Committee had recommended this particular proposal, and it seemed to him to be a very useful substitute for prosecution. They were not going to impose any penalty at all upon the child who smoked in the street or public place, but he thought it was reasonable that a constable should be able to stop a child doing so in a public place, and thereby bring home to him the fact that smoking was regarded by the law as bad for him and objectionable, and so far from this making the policeman unpopular, he was sure nothing would be more welcomed by the public. On every hand one heard that it was absurd that little children should be allowed to go about puffing cigarettes and nobody 255 have the power to stop them. The clause, after a long discussion, passed the Committee upstairs without a division, and in these circumstances he hoped the House would consent to its retention.
§ LORD BALCARRES (Lancashire, Chorley)
thought the Under-Secretary ought not to move the Amendment which he had put on the paper taking away the right of search if he wished the clause to be efficacious. If the clause was to be a reality, the policeman must have the right of search. A policeman saw a boy fifty or sixty yards away obviously smoking. He went up to him and said: "I saw you smoking." Long before he reached him, however, the "fag" was out of the boy's fingers and in his trousers pocket. The right of search, if properly administered, would prove that the boy was smoking, but without it the clause would be utterly inoperative. There was a point raised on Clause 40 to which an hon. and learned Member had alluded and to which the Under-Secretary had made no reply. He had spoken as if the police constable were the sole authority for seizure. It was not only in the hands of experienced police constables that this duty was to be placed, but of any park-keeper or other person having the powers of a constable and being in uniform. There was considerable distinction between the various authorities. The ordinary police constable was a man who could be trusted to carry out the most difficult and delicate duties with extraordinary to act, good humour, and judgment; but the ordinary person, who by virtue of the fact that he was wearing a uniform was to be entrusted with the same duties, need not by any means have the same judgment and experience. He did not know what person had the same powers as a constable other than a constable. Certainly a park-keeper had not. A constable had far more extended powers than a park-keeper. He would like to know who the other persons were who actually possessed the powers of a constable.
§ LORD BALCARRES
said he objected to placing this duty in the hands of persons who were not subject to police laws. It was obligatory and not optional. The police had to deal with all sorts of minor offences. It was an offence to play football in the street if the result was to interfere with the traffic, and that was just where the ordinary police constable was given an option. But in this case no option was given. It was his duty to seize the cigarette, and there was bound to be a scuffle or a scrimmage. He did not think the good results they were going to get from this clause were worth the risk it involved. He had great hesitation in believing that any of these three clauses would check what he admitted to be a serious evil, but, in view of the fact that there was considerable ambiguity in the clause, that the duties of these persons were not adequately defined, that the persons themselves were by no means necessarily people with the experience and the skill of the ordinary police constable, he should support the Amendment moved by the hon. Baronet and vote against the clause.
§ LORD R. CECIL
said this was really the most astonishing clause that had ever been proposed. He thoroughly agreed with the observation of the Under-Secretary that there was no danger of the clause making the police unpopular, least of all with boys under sixteen. He thought it would make them very popular and would give the boys a great deal of much needed amusement in the town districts. There was no right of search, and there were to be no legal proceedings. A boy was smoking a cigarette. He saw a policeman and went as near as he could to him and walked up and down in front of him to show that he was smoking a cigarette. The policeman called to him to give him the cigarette. "No," said the boy, "you come and take it." The policeman, if he was young, gave chase. The boy led him a tremendous chase, and eventually allowed the policeman to catch him when the cigarette was about 257 a quarter of an inch long. Then he waited until the policeman was a yard or two off and lit another cigarette. Speaking from his recollections of boyhood he could not conceive what amusement he should have enjoyed more. He did not pretend to be so well acquainted with boys of the working classes as he was with some other boys, but he presumed boys were very much alike, and his belief was that nothing in the world would give them so much pleasure as this clause. If he had not been so well acquainted with the sober and steady character of the Under-Secretary, he would have thought this was a legislative practical joke, and that the Under-Secretary was coming out in the very unexpected light of a Parliamentary humorist. If that were the object of the clause he really thought the Under-Secretary would be entitled to their warmest congratulations. Under the circumstances, he felt compelled to oppose the clause. He was opposed to cigarette smoking by boys, but it was a ridiculous thing to make it a criminal offence, and he did not want the House to do something which would directly and deliberately encourage it. He was certain if the clause was passed in the form suggested without Clause 41, and they could not with any regard to justice pass Clause 41, the necessary effect would be to encourage smoking by boys, and he was quite certain every hon. Member who had considered the effect of the clause would agree with what he had said. Surely the clause showed more clearly than any argument could the absurdity of trying to make this a criminal offence. They were driven by the stress of the public opinion of the House of Commons and the Grand Committee gradually to whittle away their provisions until there was really nothing left that was of any use. They could not have desired more clear proof of the absolute accuracy of everything they had said about this part of the Bill, and he hoped when the Under-Secretary considered it impartially and carefully he would see that in its present form this part of the Bill would not only do no good but must do a great deal of harm, and he would either now or at another stage abandon the whole thing.
§ *MR. BYLES (Salford, N.)
said it was with very great reluctance that he put himself in opposition to any part of this great. Bill, because he believed it to be a charter of deliverance for many children. He was equally reluctant to do anything to make more difficult the task of his hon. friend or to prolong the discussion on the Bill, because no one had a greater admiration than he had for the masterly manner in which he had piloted the Bill through Grand Committee and the House, and for the perfect temper and discretion he had shown on all occasions. He had voted more than once against these tobacco clauses, and he had some little shame that old-fashioned notions of Liberalism and liberty had been voiced so largely from the benches opposite rather than from those with whom he usually associated. He could not but believe that the whole of this proposal to create a sort of code, and penalise children and young people for what was not really a moral crime was an excrescence on the Bill, and was quite unnecessary. He recognised that there was a widespread desire to see less cigarette smoking amongst children, and he admitted that it was not desirable for children, and if practised to excess, was probably very injurious. Clause 39 was open to less objection than that they were now considering. There was something to be said for restricting the sale of cigarettes to children, but the provision of this clause appeared to be altogether indefensible and inoperative. He could not believe that any really good results, but some bad results, would follow from giving to constables, and park-keepers, railway policemen, tramway conductors, when in uniform, and so forth, the right to run after a boy who had a cigarette and take it from him. If they were denied the right of search, and could only take the cigarette which was actually in the boy's hand or mouth, or any packet which he might be kind enough to display in his hand, the clause would not be very effective. It exaggerated altogether the importance of the offence they were committing against society. It was not a bomb that the boy had in his pocket, though it might be from the way this legislation 259 was framed. He was simply practising a habit of which a good many people disapproved. The whole object of the Bill and of the agitation against juvenile smoking had been to prevent excessive smoking which it was admitted was injurious to young children. In order to prevent excesses they were making it illegal for a boy under sixteen to smoke a single cigarette. He objected to the clause because it could not be enforced and would lead to deceit. The result would be that when a boy saw a policeman he would get behind a tree or in some dark place, and instead of smoking openly he would do it secretly. The penalising of trivial acts of this kind confused a boy's idea of what was lawful and what was unlawful. It should not be overlooked that they were proposing to mix up the offence of cigarette smoking with petty thefts. The Under-Secretary had already stated that he did not regard these clauses as essential to the Bill, and he had also stated it could not be alleged that physical deterioration was the result of cigarette smoking. Seeing that this clause would be inoperative and that Clause 41 had been taken away, and Clause 40 immensely reduced in its efficacy, he asked the Under-Secretary cither to leave Clause 39 alone or part with the whole of these three clauses. He appealed to the Government to withdraw Clause 40 and allow it to keep company with its late companion Clause 41.
§ MR. LAMBTON
said he desired to join in the request made by the hon. Member opposite that this clause should be withdrawn. Clause 40 provided that—It shall be the duty of a constable and of a park-keeper, or other person having the powers of a constable, and being in uniform, to seize any cigarettes or cigarette papers in the possession of any boy apparently under the age of sixteen whom he finds smoking in any street or public place, and any cigarettes or cigarette papers so seized shall be disposed of, if seized by a constable, in such manner as the police authority may direct, and if seized by any other person in such manner as the authority or person by whom that person was appointed may direct.The utmost a police constable could do would be to save the remnant of a cigarette remaining between the boy's 260 lips. This clause was well fitted to provide comedy for a Christmas pantomime in which the policeman might be chasing a number of small boys round the stage. He would challenge any hon. Member who had carefully read this clause and this proviso to get up and say that it could be enforced. It would be sure to bring the police into ridicule. What could be more ludicrous than the spectacle of police constables or park-keepers chasing small boys all over the park in order to take from them one cigarette? Under this clause the police constable would not be able to search the boys. He hoped the Attorney-General for Ireland would exercise his Irish sense of humour and agree to omit a clause which would make the Bill ridiculous.
§ MR. FELL
said it was perfectly clear from the persistence with which the Government maintained that this clause should remain that Clause 39 would be inoperative. It was quite plain that boys would succeed in obtaining cigarettes whatever clause was passed. Then came the question of the seizure of the cigarettes upon the boys. Searching of the boys was not to be allowed, and they could not see the cigarettes concealed in the boys' pockets. If a constable went so far as to search a boy, that constable would render himself liable to an action. The clause would be absolutely inoperative, because the remains of the cigarette which the boy was smoking would be all that the policeman could possibly secure. With regard to placing these summary powers in the hands of police constables and park-keepers in uniform, he would like to know if the clause included men in uniform standing outside hotels. One of the things they had always prided themselves upon in this country was that "jacks in office" in England had no powers of this kind. In Germany policemen had powers of summarily exacting a small fine from boys in certain circumstances; but he hoped Parliament in this country would set its face against giving bureaucratic men in uniform a power which would be detrimental to society, and furnish a most unfortunate precedent. The clause was really ridiculous. It was absurd to give a policeman power 261 to try to take away the fag-end of a cigarette from a boy without having the power to take from him those cigarettes which he might have in his pockets.
§ MR. WILLIAM RUTHERFORD
appealed to those in charge of the measure to allow this clause to be withdrawn. The House was aware of the difficulties in which a clause of this kind would involve park-keepers. Some of the park-keepers were old men who had been gardeners, whose principal duty was to take charge of the grass and perform other light duties in the park. He could picture an elderly, stout park-keeper with half-a-dozen or a dozen boys under sixteen at the comparatively safe distance of nine or ten yards, forming a ring round him, in one of the public parks of Manchester or Liverpool, and exhibiting under his nose about an inch of unconsumed cigarette. It would be the duty of that park-keeper to catch those boys and seize those pieces of cigarettes. If the park-keeper made a dash for one of the lads the scene that would take place would be quite obvious. There would be a chase, and it would be impossible for that park-keeper to catch any of the boys, and the result would be only to make a jeering, stupid exhibition of the park-keeper all over the park. What effect was all this going to have upon the boys? It would make every boy ready to make it a matter of honour and ambition to defy this particular clause. It would be a boy's ambition to smoke, and he would make it his daily habit to carry a piece of cigarette with the object of defying park-keepers and making exhibitions of the kind he had described. The absurdity of the clause could only be realised when they came to consider what the
Act provided with regard to the seizing of cigarettes. The clause laid down that—
Any cigarettes or cigarette-papers so seized shall be disposed of if seized by a con stable in such manner as the police authority may direct, and if seized by any other person in such manner as the authority or person by whom that person was appointed may direct.
They would get about a third of one of them, and that was to be disposed of under an Act of Parliament. That was the only really effective part of the clause. There was to be a great distinction drawn if it had been captured by a constable or a park-keeper. They were all anxious to put an end to juvenile smoking, but when they saw a clause drawn in this ridiculous manner and solemnly put forward by the Government as their solution of the evil, he thought it reduced the whole thing to a piece of ludicrous nonsense. How were people under sixteen to get cigarettes at all if Clause 39 was of any use? It seemed to him that the clause was going to have the effect of increasing the difficulties of the park-keepers who had to maintain order in the public parks. The Amendments of which the Under-Secretary had given notice showed the mind of the Government. One was to alter the word "boy" to "person," and the other was to get rid of the right of search. Under the clause as proposed to be amended, constables and park-keepers were to have the right of following up a boy or girl whom they saw holding a piece of cigarette and of resorting to measures which, as he had pointed out, would have ludicrous consequences.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 181; Noes, 61. (Division List No. 251.)265
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Beck, A. Cecil||Branch, James|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Bell, Richard||Brigg, John|
|Alden, Percy||Bellairs, Carlyon||Brodie, H. C.|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonp'rt||Brooke, Stopford|
|Armitage, R.||Benn, W. (T'w'r Hamlets, S. Geo||Bryce, J. Annan|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Berridge, T. H. D.||Burns, Rt. Hon. John|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Boulton, A. C. F.||Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Bowerman, C. W.||Carr-Gomm, H. W.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Brace, William||Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard Knight|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Idris, T. H. W.||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Cleland, J. W.||Jackson, R. S.||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Clough, William||Jardine, Sir J.||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Jenkins, J.||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grirst'd||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne|
|Cowan, W. H.||Kekewich, Sir George||Sears, J. E.|
|Cox, Harold||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Crooks, William||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Laidlaw, Robert||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.||Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster)||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.||Lambert, George||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Dobson, Thomas W.||Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.||Summerbell, T.|
|Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Lewis, John Herbert||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Essex, R. W.||Maclean, Donald||Thomasson, Franklin|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||M'Callum, John M.||Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E.|
|Evans, Sir Samuel T.||M'Crae, Sir George||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Everett, R. Lacey||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)||Tomkinson, James|
|Ferens, T. R.||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Verney, F. W.|
|Findlay, Alexander||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)||Vivian, Henry|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Marnham, F. J.||Walters, John Tudor|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Massie, J.||Walton, Joseph|
|Furness, Sir Christopher||Menzies, Walter||Wardle, George J.|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Micklem, Nathaniel||Waring, Walter|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John||Middlebrook, William||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Molteno, Percy Alport||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Greenwood, Hamar (York)||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Gulland, John W.||Newnes, Sir George (Swansea)||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Gurdon, Rt. Hn. Sir W. Brampton||Nicholls, George||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Hall, Frederick||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncast'r||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Nuttall, Harry||Whittaker, Rt Hn. Sir Thomas P.|
|Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs., Leek)||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen|
|Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithn'ss-sh||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Henry, Charles S.||Rainy, A. Rolland||Winfrey, R.|
|Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Raphael, Herbert H.||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Higham, John Sharp||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Hodge, John||Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th)|
|Holland, Sir William Henry||Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Joseph Pease and Master of Elibank.|
|Hope, W. Bateman (Somerset, N.||Richardson, A.|
|Horniman, Emslie John||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Hudson, Walter||Roberts, Sir John H. (Denbighs)|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hn. Sir Alex F.||Collings, Rt. Hn. J. (Birmingh'm||Hamilton, Marquess of|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Collins, Sir Wm, J. (S. Pancras, W.||Harris, Frederick Leverton|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Doughty, Sir George||Helmsley, Viscount|
|Balcarres, Lord||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Houston, Robert Paterson|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.|
|Bull, Sir William James||Fell, Arthur||Lane-Fox, G. R.|
|Byles, William Pollard||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Lonsdale, John Brownlee|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Fletcher, J. S.||Lupton, Arnold|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Forster, Henry William||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh|
|Cave, George||Glover, Thomas||M'Arthur, Charles|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Gooch, Henry Cubitt (Peckham)||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Gretton, John||Myer, Horatio|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)||Oddy, John James|
|Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham)||Guinness, W. E. (Bury S. Edm.)||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington|
|Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Salter, Arthur Clavell||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Radford, G. H.||Seddon, J.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Renwick, George||Thornton, Percy M.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Frederick Banbury and Mr. Watson Rutherford.|
|Roberta, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Ronaldshay, Earl of||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter||Walsh, Stephen|
In page 23, line 27, to leave out the word 'boy' and to insert the word 'person.'—(Mr. Herbert Samuel.)
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ SIR F. BANBURY moved to leave out in page 24, line 33, the word "apparently." As he understood the speech of the Attorney-General for Ireland, the word "apparently" had a different meaning in this clause from what it had in a previous clause.
§ SIR F. BANBURY
said that that did not weaken his argument but rather justified him in moving his Amendment. It was not always an easy thing for one to say that a person was, or was not, under the age of sixteen. Let them see for a moment what might happen. A girl of eighteen might be walking down a street with a cigarette in her hand. She might not be smoking it, but suppose a constable said that she was under sixteen, and asked her to give up her cigarette, and that she refused, and that he then took it from her. If an action was brought against the constable or park-keeper for assault under these circumstances, the only defence required would be that the constable or the park-keeper believed her to be under sixteen. Even assuming, for the sake of argument, that the girl won her case, it would cost her a very large amount of money, all owing to the stupidity or to the zeal of a constable anxious to get promotion for activity in the prosecution of his duty and carrying out all the powers entrusted to him under this Act. The word "apparently" had evidently been put into the clause to protect the police constable. If his Amendment were accepted, the result would be that the police constable would 266 know that he must exercise some reasonable precaution in taking the end of a cigarette out of the mouth of a young person. He hoped the Government would listen to reason and accept his Amendment, which he now begged to move.
§ MR. LANE-FOX (Yorkshire, W.R., Barkston Ash)
seconded the Amendment mainly in the interest of the unfortunate people who were to be given the duty of carrying out this portion of the Act. The machinery contained in the clause was absolutely absurd and unworkable, and he hoped the Government would modify the clause in the interest of their own Bill.
In page 24, line 33, to leave out the word 'apparently.'"—(Sir F. Banbury.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said he had dealt with this point only a few minutes ago when it had been raised on another clause by the hon. Baronet. If the Amendment were adopted and the word "apparently" left out, the police and the park - keepers would have no defence if they took action against a person who looked of the age of eighteen and was, as a matter of fact, under sixteen. The Amendment would make the clause utterly unworkable.
§ MR. JAMES CAMPBELL
hoped that his hon. friend would not press his Amendment. He doubted whether the clause would remain in the Bill, because, if the Amendment which stood in the name of the Under-Secretary, taking away from the police and the park-keepers the right of search, were passed, it would reduce the clause to a hopeless and ludicrous absurdity. However, if 267 the clause did remain in the Bill, then he was in favour of retaining the word "apparently," because it would protect the constable or the park-keeper who engaged in a chase to capture the end of a cigarette, in judging the age of the young person.
§ Amendment negatived,
§ MR. WALTER GUINNESS (Bury St. Edmunds) moved to add at the end of the clause the words: "And if any cigarettes, cigarette papers, or other tobacco are so seized, it shall be reported to the chief officer of police for the district, who shall send a written notice of the fact to the parent or guardian of the person from whom they were seized." He said he ventured to bring forward this Amendment because it was defeated in Committee by a majority of only one vote. When the Bill, was in Committee he thought that the Amendment was hardly necessary, because at that time it was provided that in the event of the child smoking or showing disrespect for the police the child was to be summoned and punished in a very drastic manner for smoking. Now the Under-Secretary had undertaken to leave out Clause 41 and therefore made no provision for the punishment of juveniles for smoking in public parks or refusing to obey the police. Therefore, it appeared to him that the Amendment which he proposed was absolutely necessary. If it were not adopted this clause would only encourage smoking, as it would give great opportunity for amusement to small boys and undoubtedly lead them to buy cigarettes for the purpose of chaffing the police. Under the Bill as it now stood he thought boys would learn to smoke simply for the purpose of having the opportunity of a little amusement at the expense of the park-keepers and the police. They wished to avoid that state of affairs which had been depicted by the noble Lord the Member for Marylebone, and it was important that they should get the police backed up by the parents in standing out against smoking. This was one of the most dangerous provisions of the Bill, because it would familiarise the rising generation with the idea that 268 they could break the law with absolute impunity. When they had been allowed to flaunt the police with regard to smoking, they might think the same might be the case in regard to more serious offences, and they might not be disposed to restrict the breach to a particular Act of Parliament. He did not like these smoking clauses at all, but he liked them less now that Clause 41 was left out, and he appealed to the Home Secretary to accept this Amendment which would give him an opportunity of mitigating one of the greatest dangers of the Bill. One of the most serious perils was that the Bill was going to be set in force through the influence of the police, the police court and industrial schools, which were far less efficient agents for the education of the young than the influence of the parent if properly exerted. He thought that the parent should know that his child was smoking so that he might prevent him from going to the park and chaffing the police. He could not see that anything would be lost by enlisting the parents on the side of the police and against smoking, and if this Amendment were adopted they might do a great deal to make this provision effective, and not make the police the laughingstock of the country. He begged to move.
§ SIR F. BANBURY
had pleasure in seconding the Amendment of his hon. friend, which he thought was a very useful one. If it were carried it would give the parent the power of exercising proper control over his offspring, and he would be able to give him a good flogging if it was necessary, the same as they used to get at school if they smoked unless they were in a certain part of the school. The Bill would have a greater effect, both morally and physically, if this clause were amended in this way. For these reasons he begged to second.
In page 23, line 32, at end, to insert the words 'And if any cigarettes, cigarette papers, or other tobacco are so seized, it shall be reported to the chief officer of police for the district, who shall send a written notice of the fact to the parent or guardian of the person
from whom they are seized."—(Mr. Walter Guinness.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said he wished he could see his way to accept Amendments strengthening this clause when proposed by hon. Gentlemen opposite, but this would involve the name and address of the child in every case being traced. The object of the clause was to stop smoking in the street, and he thought that while it was desirable that the parent should be informed in all cases, he did not think it should be made the statutory duty of the chief officer of police to embark upon these inquiries, and trace out the parent of every child in every case. For these reasons he hoped the hon. Member, although he knew he was earnestly interested in this clause, would not press this Amendment. Of course, it would be optional on the part of the police or the watch committees in any particular town to send information to the parent, but it should not be obligatory upon them to do so.
§ MR. CLAUDE HAY (Shoreditch, Hoxton)
said the hon. Gentleman had made it perfectly clear that in the Bill as it was to be passed it was optional for the police to give this notice, but it the police did not exercise the option the child might be sent to prison, because he was unable to pay the costs, and the fine imposed upon him.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said he did not think the hon. Member was in the House when it was stated that Clause 41 was to be dropped. There would be no penalties upon the child or parent.
said that that made it all the more important that the parent should know what the child had done. They should have some intimation given to the parent of what the naughty boy or girl had done. Therefore he earnestly hoped that the Amendment of his hon. friend would be accepted.
§ MR. MOORE
said that at an earlier stage of the debate on this clause the 270 Minister in charge of it said that the whole scheme of these provisions was based on a desire to secure the co-operation of the parents. Here was an earnest Amendment which gave the Government the means of securing their active co-operation, and as soon as it was brought before the House the Minister in charge said he could not accept it. Of course, they could not force his hand upon that, but he thought it was a sinister comment upon the bona fides of his own assertion that the object was to secure the co-operation of the parents.
§ VISCOUNT HELMSLEY
thought it was a pity that the Under-Secretary had treated this Amendment so cavalierly, as it was one of the greatest importance. Surely they had arrived at a ridiculous position. They had made it illegal for a tobacconist to sell cigarettes to a child, and made it possible for a police constable to seize cigarettes; but there was absolutely nothing in the Bill making it illegal for the child to smoke tobacco. Therefore the one person they desired to get at was not got at at all by this Bill. Clause 41 might not have been a very reasonable clause, but it was logical, and in it there was a penalty for the child smoking. Now no penalty was provided, and therefore it appeared to him the least the Government could do if they dropped Clause 41 was to provide that a child doing that which was condemned by an Act of Parliament should be punished. The Under - Secretary seemed to have a very sanguine opinion of the character of young persons who would come under this Bill, and thought that the last thing they would do was to try to "rag" the police or the park constable by smoking, and then when the officer came up put the cigarette in their pockets. He seemed to think that the moment this Bill was passed the smoking of cigarettes would be finished, but it seemed to him that that was a very optimistic view to take, and that these sections as they stood would be inoperative, because there was no penalty whatever imposed, either parental or legal, upon the child who practised cigarette-smoking. If this Amendment were accepted the parent would be given an opportunity of punishing the child, and so be enabled to act with the State. He had himself ventured 271 to put an Amendment on the Paper to Clause 41, in which he proposed to inflict a very old penalty, if this was to be a crime at all. The penalty was that of a whipping. Of course, that could not now come in, but he nevertheless thought it would have been more appropriate than fining the unfortunate parent 10s. or sentencing him to a term of imprisonment. But if his penalty could not come in now it would be proper and appropriate at least to give the parent the opportunity of punishing his child.
§ *SIR WILLIAM ANSON (Oxford University)
did not agree with the noble Lord in thinking that the Bill would be inoperative; he thought that it would afford a direct encouragement to children to smoke. Most boys of a tender age who might be seen smoking in public places did so, not because of any attachment to tobacco, but because they considered it a practice in advance of their years, and something moreover which their elders told them not to do, affording them, therefore, the added pleasure of disobedience which was so dear to boys of their age. Under the Bill, cigarette-smoking would have for boys even a greater attraction than before, because
§ the boys would now be actually breaking the law. The Legislature had now given a zest to juvenile smoking which it had hitherto not possessed in the juvenile mind. Not only could a boy do this grown-up thing, of which his parents possibly disapproved, but he was not now even to be reported to his parent, so that he was given a whole afternoon's amusement at the expense of the constable or park-keeper. He would get hold of two or three cigarettes, walk along with one in his mouth, dance in front of the park-keeper, and when the park-keeper had caught him the boy would put his cigarette in his pocket. The right of search having been taken away the matter there came to an end until the youth again put his cigarette into his mouth and the amusement would begin all over again. He, therefore, had the pleasure of breaking the law, of doing what his parent would not like him to do, of annoying the park-keeper, and thus he obtained an afternoon's amusement—and all at the instance of a paternal Government which was only too anxious to do him good.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 55: Noes, 207. (Division List No. 252.)273
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hn. Sir Alex, F.||Forster, Henry William||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Gretton, John||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Balcarres, Lord||Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)||Renwick, George|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Hamilton, Marquess of||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Helmsley, Viscount||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Salter, Arthur Cravell|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Houston, Robert Paterson||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Cave, George||Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin, S.)||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Collings, Rt. Hn. J. (Birmingh'm||M'Arthur, Charles||Winterton, Earl|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Magnus, Sir Philip||Younger, George|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.|
|Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan||Moore, William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Walter Guinness and Sir Frederick Banbury.|
|Fell, Arthur||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Fletcher, J. S.||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Armstrong, W. C. Heaton||Barran, Rowland Hirst|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Atherley-Jones, L.||Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)|
|Alden, Percy||Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Beauchamp, E.|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Beck, A. Cecil|
|Bell, Richard||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Rees, J. D.|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonp'rt||Hazel, Dr. A. E.||Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th|
|Bennett, E. N.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Henry, Charles S.||Richardson, A.|
|Black, Arthur W.||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Boland, John||Higham, John Sharp||Roberts, Sir John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradf'rd|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Hodge, John||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Brace, William||Holland, Sir William Henry||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Horniman, Emslie John||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Branch, James||Hudson, Walter||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Brigg, John||Hyde, Clarendon||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Bright, J. A.||Idris, T. H. W.||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Brodie, H. C.||Jackson, M. S.||Scarisbrick, T. T. L.|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Jardine, Sir J.||Scott, A. H. (Ashton under Lyne|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Jenkins, J.||Seddon, J.|
|Byles, William Pollard||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard Knight||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Kearley, Sir Hudson E.||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Cleland, J. W.||Kekewich, Sir George||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Clough, William||Laidlaw, Robert||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster||Summerbell, T.|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W.)||Lambert, George||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Cooper, G. J.||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Thomasson, Franklin|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Levy, Sir Maurice||Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E.|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||Lewis, John Herbert||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Lupton, Arnold||Tomkinson, James|
|Cowan, W. H.||Maclean, Donald||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Cox, Harold||M'Callum, John M.||Verney, F. W.|
|Crooks, William||M'Crae, Sir George||Vivian, Henry|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)||Walsh, Stephen|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||M'Micking, Major G.||Walters, John Tudor|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)||Walton, Joseph|
|Dobson, Thomas W.||Marnham, F. J.||Ward, John (Stoke upon Trent)|
|Duckworth, James||Massie, J.||Wardle, George J.|
|Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Menzies, Walter||Waring, Walter|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Micklem, Nathaniel||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||Middlebrook, William||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Essex, R. W.||Molteno, Percy Alport||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Morrell, Philip||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Ferens, T. R.||Morse, L. L.||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Murray, Capt. Hn. A. C. (Kincard.||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Findlay, Alexander||Myer, Horatio||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Whittaker, Rt. Hn. Sir Thomas P.|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John||Nicholls, George||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Glen-Coats, Sir T. (Renfrew, W.||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncast'r||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen|
|Glover, Thomas||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Nuttall, Harry||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||O'Grady, J.||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)|
|Greenwood, Hamar (York)||Partington, Oswald||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Gulland, John W.||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Winfrey, R.|
|Gurdon, Rt. Hn. Sir W. Brampton||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Hall, Frederick||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Master of Elibank and Mr. Herbert Lewis.|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||Radford, G. H.|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Harwood, George||Raphael, Herbert H.|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL moved the proviso that a constable, park-keeper, or other person shall not be authorised to 274 search any person under sixteen fourd smoking. He said he did so with some reluctance, because he could not conceal 275 the fact that the Amendment lessened the effectiveness of Clause 40. But he moved it in accordance with a pledge given in Committee. During the discussions in Committee, notonly the opponents, but the supporters of this measure, urged upon him that the police should not be given a right to search a child or young person found smoking in a public place. They considered that it was an indignity to which they should not be subjected. That being so, he undertook to put down some Amendment on the lines on which he now moved. He complained that hon. Gentlemen opposite had not treated him quite fairly with reference to this clause. After having honestly attempted to meet their wishes, he had merely been met by the accusation that he had made the clause weak and ineffective.
In page 23, line 32, at end to insert the words 'Provided that such constable, park-keeper or other person as aforesaid shall not be authorised to search any person so found smoking.'"—(Mr. Herbert Samuel.)
§ Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted."
§ MR. JESSE COLLINGS
said it would puzzle anybody to know what the general principle of the clause was. They had done away with the penalty and with the right of search. What was there left? A policeman was ordered to seize any cigarettes in the possession of these children, but he would only be able to seize the cigarette in the child's mouth. He would not be able to tell whether or not the child had any more because he would not be allowed to search. The whole proceeding was absurd, and he could not help feeling that hon. Members opposite, who had been so silent, and had not uttered any defence of the clause, would agree that the clause was full of absurdities.
§ MR. JESSE COLLINGS
said that that was a very old story. The clause would create a new trade. He wished he had had such an opportunity when he was a lad which this clause would give. Boys under sixteen would say to their pals who were seventeen: "You just go and buy us some cigarettes, and we will give you one for your commission." Lads would not have the slightest difficulty in getting cigarettes. It was absurd to think such a thing. Would any hon. Member say there would be any difficulty? Their silence answered the question. There was the incentive in every direction not only to have the fun which was to be got without risk of any penalty, but also to get cigarettes in a co-operative manner. A boy of sixteen and-a-half years would only be too glad to earn commission by getting any number of cigarettes. The whole clause would be not only inoperative, but ridiculous and mischievous, and it would tend to increase the very evil which it was no doubt wished to decrease. One might ask the Under-Secretary whether he would not consider the dropping of the clause instead of allowing it to become a laughing stock.
§ MR. MOORE
wished to call attention to the regret which the Minister in charge of the Bill had expressed for the position in which he found himself in being obliged to move an Amendment that a constable, park-keeper, or other person should not be authorised to search a person found smoking in the street or a public place. He felt regret that he was obliged to bring in an Amendment which would prevent a policeman in a public place searching a young girl.
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
The hon. Member will excuse me. That is not so at all. I distinctly said that the "boy" was changed back to "person" in view of the fact that this Amendment with regard to search was to be inserted.
That Clause 41 be omitted."—(Mr. Herbert Samuel.)
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ SIR F. BANBURY
moved the omission of Clause 42 (Provisions as to automatic machines for the sale of tobacco). They all knew that automatic machines were put in various places, particularly railway-stations and exhibitions, for the sale of various commodities, and that the owners had to pay rent for the ground on which they stood as well as considerable sums for the machines themselves. All that money was to be wasted because forsooth some person under sixteen might occasionally put in a penny and take out a cigarette. How did the Under-Secretary propose to find out whether any young person was in the habit of going to one of the machines, putting a penny in, and taking out a cigarette? Did he propose to get policemen, park-keepers, or persons in uniform to watch every one of the machines? Unless he did so, how did he intend to find out that a machine was being extensively used by children or young persons for the purpose of obtaining cigarettes? Of course, it was absolutely certain he was not going to do anything of the sort. Human nature was not going to be altered by this or any other Bill, and there would be nothing to prevent a rival trader who wanted the site going to a policeman and, out of spite, saying that he had seen a boy apparently under sixteen on several occasions put a 1d. in a machine and take out a cigarette. The police naturally would be bound to summon the owner for allowing his machine to be used by young persons for the purpose of obtaining cigarettes, and the Court would be able to order that such precautions should be taken as would prevent the machine being so used. The only possible precaution would be to place a responsible person by the machine to see that young persons did not put 278 pennies in the slot and obtain cigarettes. The very object of the machines, however, was to do away with the necessity of having attendants. That object would be defeated merely because occasionally some young person might obtain a cigarette from a machine. A station was a public place in which there was often a policeman, and at an exhibition there would be a person in uniform. If they saw a boy put a penny in an automatic machine and take out a cigarette, they would be able to take it away from him providing he smoked it, and he would have thought that was a good precaution and sufficient for the purpose of the Bill. There was a heavy fine to be inflicted upon the unfortunate person who failed to comply with a magistrate's order, and take precautions to see that his machine was not used by juveniles to obtain cigarettes. He was to be liable to a fine not exceeding £5 on summary conviction, and to a further fine not exceeding £1 for every day during which the offence continued. That seemed to him a monstrous punishment for a very small offence, if it was an offence at all. If he did not pay the fine, he was liable to go to prison. The Under-Secretary might say that if it were not for this clause every boy would get cigarettes out of automatic machines, and so evade the provisions of the Bill. Was it really likely they would do so; but even it they did the end of the world would not come because the provisions of the Bill were not carried out, whereas a considerable amount of inconvenience and injustice would be inflicted if they were.
§ MR. MOORE
said the provisions of this clause were slightly different, and unfairly different, in comparison with those they had already considered. The tobacconist was protected from any charges involving an offence under the Act where he sold his commodities to a person who was apparently not under the age of sixteen. A young person was defined in the 279 definition clause as a person who was not more than sixteen, and the protection which was accorded to the tobacconist was withdrawn in the case of sale by automatic machines. The question of proof was very difficult in the case of automatic machines, but the penalty was fixed. There was no question of reasonable belief, the purchaser could not be examined, there was no question of bona-fides, and that involved a very great hardship on the person who was responsible for the machine. The House would be well advised in protecting traders against injustice, by omitting the clause altogether.
In page 24, line 1, to leave out Clause 42."—(Sir Frederick Banbury.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out, to the word 'is,' in page 24, line 3, stand part of the Bill."
§ *MR. HERBERT SAMUEL
said he was sure that if they had not included in this part of the Bill a clause dealing with the sale of cigarettes by automatic machines, hon. Gentlemen opposite would have said it was a monstrous injustice to tobacconists. They would have said: "You are prohibiting tobacconists from selling cigarettes, but you are doing nothing to protect them from the competition of automatic machines which may be set up for the very purpose of selling cigarettes to children." He admitted that the method of dealing with the question was not free from difficulty. It was not possible, of course, to propose to abolish altogether automatic machines for the sale of cigarettes. That would cause great inconvenience. Nor was there need to do so, because cigarettes in automatic machines, as yet, were mainly of a more expensive kind, and were not largely bought by children. But things might be altered, and after the passage of this part of the Bill, automatic machines might take up this par- 280 ticular trade, besides which automatic machines were sometimes put up in places where children specially congregated, like what were called "Wonderlands," brightly-lighted places where children could go in and see mutoscopes and other attractions. It was quite a reasonable proposal that where it could be proved on evidence that automatic machines were being extensively used by children and young persons, the proprietor must take precautions by placing an attendant to see that they were not being so used, or else that the machines should be moved to some other place where they would not be so extensively used. It had been pointed out that the penalties in this clause were different and more severe than those laid upon tobacconist, but the offence was a very different one. The owner of the automatic machines was not penalised in this case for selling to children, but for disobeying the order of the Court of Summary Jurisdiction. An order once made by the Court must be properly enforced, and the penalties must be sufficient to achieve the object. He should be happy to accept the noble Lord's proposal to allow an appeal against the decision of the Court of Summary Jurisdiction to Quarter Sessions, which would, to some extent, meet the objection of the hon. Baronet. He had received no representations from the companies owning these machines that they had any objection whatever to the clause. They did not complain of its provisions or ask for its amendment. The Standing Committee, after giving the clause full consideration, had passed it without a division. He hoped the House would retain it.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
said he was the last person in the world to be likely to complain of a Minister who, at the end of a weary sitting, got a little sore with his opponents, and he recognised the great ability and fairness and courtesy with which the hon. Gentleman had conducted the Bill, 281 but he would permit him in perfect frankness and friendliness to suggest that if he wanted to get his Bill through he had better not accuse the Opposition of unfairness. This was one of those Bills which they could really only pass with the consent of the Opposition. He knew that that was a very disagreeable position for the majority, when it was as big and as impatient as the present one, to have to face, but it was a fact. This was a Bill with an enormous number of clauses, and he could not help thinking that the Under-Secretary, if he had no better grounds on which to base this clause than those he had presented to them, would have done well to drop it. If that were the Palace of Truth, and the Under-Secretary told them what was in the back of his mind, he thought he would admit now that he was very sorry he had not dropped four or five clauses a long time ago, because he would have been saved a weary debate, and the Bill would have been to all intents and purposes for the protection of the children of the country an even better Bill than it would be with those numerous clauses in it. Clauses of this kind would not be used in the admirable manner in which the Under-Secretary suggested, merely to deal with the case where there might be shows in which were placed machines used exclusively by children. What was the cause of half the controversy and the debate which was going on in the country? It was the bitterness and the extreme character of the competition which made living by traders of all kinds almost impossible. That was what was driving men to look into these matters for themselves and see whether they could not find some new remedy. What was legislation of this kind going to do? In order to provide against the case of some show where children might be using these machines to get cigarettes they were going to give to magistrates a power which might, without any charge of injustice, be used with very consider- 282 able unfairness towards traders in various parts of the country. The Under-Secretary said he had received no representations. He had been responsible for many Bills which had affected traders of all kinds, and nobody knew better than a Minister who had had charge of a Bill how frequently it happened that clause after clause was put into a Bill and went through the House, and it was not until, through the medium of the police and the consequent interference with the liberty of the subject, the effect was appreciated and the individual realised what was the interference with his trade. The fact that the Under-Secretary had received no representations from the traders connected with these machines was no evidence whatever as to the working of these clauses and afforded no reason at all why they should give their assent to what they believed to be an unnecessary and vexatious proposal. This group of clauses was put in to prevent children smoking—an admirable thing. He doubted whether the figures given by the Home Secretary, for which he produced neither chapter nor verse, could be sustained. For the first time he had heard the suggestions made as to the effects of smoking. They were not figures which had ever yet been accepted by the House of Commons as a guide to legislation, and they ought never to have been given. While he did not accept the statement of the case as presented by the Government, they all agreed that smoking by children of tender years was an abominable thing which ought to be stopped. How were they going to stop it? By a series of clauses which proposed to harass an industry and interfere with individual liberty, and transfer the responsibility of the parent to the police, the park-keeper, and the trader. That was ridiculous legislation. The Under-Secretary told them they were unreasonable. They were not unreasonable. It did not at all follow that, because they objected to the clause in its original form, they 283 were unreasonable if they objected to the Amendments which the Government themselves proposed to make. It did not follow that their Amendments made the clause a bit more palatable to them than it was in its original form. They objected to the clause on principles which they had always held, and it was to him very remarkable that in dealing with a clause like this, which was to enable these automatic machines to be practically got rid of in certain places, they had really to defend the interests of the poorest and weakest kind of trader in the country. These machines were not the property of large traders, and they were not held in great quantities by one firm, except in a limited number of cases. When the Under-Secretary said that if he had not put these provisions in the Bill they would have upbraided him for allowing cigarettes to be sold by somebody other than the trader, he was entirely wrong. They were not affected by any feelings of that kind. They did not want adversely to criticise the Bill, but the Government could not ask them to pass by provisions of this kind and adopt them in a few minutes, on finding they had been put into a Bill with which they had really no connection whatever. He did not regret the time which had been spent upon the Bill, because, apart altogether from the effect it would have on the legislation they were passing, it would show the House of Commons for the first time that if they were going to rely upon the Standing Committee system they must use these Committees for the purpose for which they were set up, namely, for non-controversial legislation which did not raise great issues or give rise to considerable
§ debate. If they tried to create new offences and to extend the powers exercised by the magistrates and police, they ought to do it in legislation which went through the full regular forms of the House. He hoped that the debates on these clauses would give the country some indication of the extraordinary tendency that legislation was now assuming, and that they would throw a fresh light on the way in which attempts were being made to get legislation through the House by means of Standing Committees without a proper opportunity being given either to the country to understand it or to the House to debate it. For those reasons he most cordially supported the Amendment of his hon. friend, and he ventured to assert that the action of the Opposition in opposing this group of clauses had been thoroughly justified. If the Government had taken their advice, and allowed those objectionable proposals to be eliminated from the Bill, their legislation would have been much better; but as they had refused to do this, the responsibility must rest upon the Government. The clauses to which he referred were quite unnecessary and in no way connected with this Bill—in fact their only effect would be to weaken instead of strengthen the measure. Those were the reasons which had justified the Opposition in the line of action they had adopted, and there was nothing unreasonable in the course they had pursued. He believed that this kind of legislation was thoroughly bad and was establishing a new and dangerous precedent.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 201; Noes, 56. (Division List No. 253.)287
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Bellairs, Carlyon|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Barran, Rowland Hirst||Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonp'rt|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Bennett, E. N.|
|Armstrong, W. C. Heaton||Beck, A. Cecil||Berridge, T. H. D.|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Bell, Richard||Black, Arthur W.|
|Boland, John||Haslam, James (Derbyshire)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Boulton, A. C. F.||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Roberts, Sir John H. (Denbighs.|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Hazel, Dr. A. E.||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradf'rd|
|Brace, William||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Henry, Charles S.||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Branch, James||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Brigg, John||Higham, John Sharp||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Bright, J. A.||Hobhouse, Charles E. H.||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Brodie, H. C.||Hodge, John||Rose, Charles Day|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Holland, Sir William Henry||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Horniman, Emslie John||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)|
|Byles, William Pollard||Hudson, Walter||Scarisbrick, T. T. L.|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Hyde, Clarendon||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne|
|Causton, Rt. Hn. Richard Knight||Idris, T. H. W.||Seddon, J.|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Jardine, Sir J.||Seely, Colonel|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Cleland, J. W.||Johnson, W. (Nuneaton)||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Clough, William||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Clynes, J. R.||Kearley, Sir Hudson E.||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Kekewich, Sir George||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Laidlaw, Robert||Spicer, Sir Albert|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras W.)||Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster)||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Compton-Rickett, Sir J.||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Cooper, G. J.||Lambert, George||Summerbell, T.|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Lehmann, R. C.||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Levy, Sir Maurice||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Cowan, W. H.||Lewis, John Herbert||Thomasson, Franklin|
|Crooks, William||Maclean, Donald||Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E.|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||M'Callum, John M.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.||M'Crae, Sir George||Tomkinson, James|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.||M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Dobson, Thomas W.||M'Micking, Major G.||Verney, F. W.|
|Duckworth, James||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)||Vivian, Henry|
|Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Marnham, F. J.||Walsh, Stephen|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Massie, J.||Walters, John Tudor|
|Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||Masterman, C. F. G.||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Essex, R. W.||Menzies, Walter||Wardle, George J.|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Middlebrook, William||Waring, Walter|
|Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Molteno, Percy Alport||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Morrell, Philip||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Ferens, T. R.||Morse, L. L.||Watt, Henry A.|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Murray, Capt Hn. A. C. (Kincard.||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Findlay, Alexander||Nannetti, Joseph P.||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)||Whitehead, Rowland|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Nicholls, George||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncast'r||Whittaker, Rt. Hn. Sir Thomas P.|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Wiles, Thomas|
|Glen-Coats, Sir T. (Renfrew, W.||Nuttall, Harry||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Glover, Thomas||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarth'n|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||O'Grady, J.||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Partington, Oswald||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Greenwood, Hamar (York)||Paulton, James Mellor||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.)|
|Gulland, John W.||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Gurdon, Rt. Hn. Sir W. Brampton||Price, C. E. (Edinb'gh, Central)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Hall, Frederick||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Winfrey, R.|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Rainy, A. Rolland||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Mr. Joseph Pease and Master of Elibank.|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.||Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n|
|Harwood, George||Richardson, A.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hn. Sir Alex F.||Bull, Sir William James||Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Butcher, Samuel Henry||Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Collings, Rt. Hn. J. (Birmingh'm|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Carlile, E. Hildred||Doughty, Sir George|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Cave, George||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Du Cros, Arthur Philip|
|Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Fell, Arthur||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter|
|Fetherstonhaugh, (Godfrey||Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Fletcher, J. S.||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin, S.||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Forster, Henry William||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Gretton, John||Lupton, Arnold||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)||MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Valentia, Viscount|
|Hamilton, Marquess of||M'Arthur, Charles||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Harris, Frederick Leverton||Magnus, Sir Philip||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Helmsley, Viscount||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir Frederick Banbury and Mr. Moore.|
|Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Renwick, George|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
§ LORD R. CECIL
moved to insert after "premises" the words "to which the public have access," his object being to confine the operation of the clause to those premises which were public places. It was not quite clear against whom the complaint was to be made. The order might be made upon the owner of the machine or upon the persons on whose premises the machine was kept. He did not know whether the Home Secretary contemplated as the criminal the owner of the machines or the owner of the premises. It seemed to him to be rather a strong order to say that the owner should be compelled to take measures to prevent his machines being used in this way when standing on premises which in ninety-nine cases out of 100 did not belong to him at all. The Amendment, he submitted, would confine the operation of this clause to premises which were public places, and an important category which would be excluded would be railway stations. The owner of a machine might establish and build up a perfectly legitimate and regular trade in cigarettes to grown-up people at a particular place, and children might come along and take advantage of his machines, not for the purpose intended but to gratify their desire to obtain cigarettes, and in this way a very valuable trade belonging to the owner of the 288 machines might be destroyed. He could not think that the Under-Secretary would desire in that case to penalise the owner as heavily as would be the case under this clause. He thought it would be better to confine the operation of this clause to those positions to which children would have access, and leave railway platforms outside the operation of this clause. The Under-Secretary said upon the previous Amendment that if he had not made provision for dealing with automatic machines the Opposition would have complained about unfair com petition, and probably that would have been the case. He thought some such proposal as that contained in his Amendment was required if justice was to be done—
And, it being Eleven of the clock, further consideration of the Bill, as amended, stood adjourned.
Bill, as amended (in the Standing Committee), to be further considered To-morrow.
Whereupon Mr. SPEAKER, pursuant to the Order of the House of 31st July, adjourned the House, without Question put.
§ Adjourned at one minute after Eleven o'clock.