§ [SECOND READING.]
§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ THE UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (LORD EMMOTT)
My Lords, I have the honour to move the Second Reading of the Coal Mines Bill. It is a large and comprehensive measure affecting the lives and safety of over a million of the workers in and about the mines of this country. It is a lengthy measure because it is, besides being an amending measure a consolidating measure. Since 1887 there has been no important contribution to mining legislation. In 1896 a Bill was passed which gave the Secretary of State further powers for the making of special rules in regard to coal dust, in regard to the care and use of explosives, and in reference to plans of mines, and it also gave workmen the right of representation at arbitrations. The provisions of that measure are incorporated; and amended in this Bill. But that was i not a general measure, whereas this is. Since 1887 a great deal of experience has been obtained with reference to our mines. The part played by coal dust in causing disastrous explosions has been generally recognised since that time. To-day deeper seams are being worked than was formerly the case; new methods of working are being employed; electricity is being used 701 to a much greater extent than formerly, and all these new features mean new dangers.
His Majesty's Government in 1906 appointed a Royal Commission, which made a very thorough investigation of the problems connected with our mines. They issued three Reports. The first Report dealt chiefly with the use of breathing apparatus, and it led to the passing of an Act last session called the Mines Accidents (Rescue and Aid) Act. The principal provision of that Act is incorporated in Clause 85 of the Bill which is now before your Lordships' House. The second Report of that Commission is the principal Report. It deals generally with questions of health and safety in mines, and its recommendations are the principal basis for the changes in the law proposed by this Bill. The third Report deals with matters of ventilation and with the treatment, of animals. There is one matter on which the Royal Commission were unable to come to very definite conclusions—namely, the question of coal dust. At their suggestion a committee of coalowners arranged to make a series of experiments. Those experiments were made and a very valuable Report was issued by this committee, but still the information which is desired has not been obtained, and so now the Government have taken the matter over. They have obtained an experimental station in Cumberland and are proceeding with these experiments, but I believe some time may yet elapse before the result will be known.
I do not think I need remind your Lordships that the results of past legislation and inspection have been marked by a very large diminution in the number of fatal accidents. If one goes back to the fifties and' sixties of last century the diminution between now and then is very marked indeed. The average of fatal accidents underground in the last few years proportionately to the number of men employed is, I should think, not one-third of what it was from 1851 to 1855, and not one-half of what it was from 1801 to 1865. But if we begin in 1872, which really marked the commencement of our modern mining legislation, and look at the figures since that year we find that the death rate for the first decade 1873 to 1882 was 2.24 per thousand employed; for the second decade, 1.81; and for the third decade, 1.39. That brings us down to the year 1902. Since that time I regret very much 702 to say there has been no improvement at all to record. Indeed the last two years have shown a great increase. That is because the death rate has been swollen by two or three of those appalling catas-trophies which threw a whole countryside into mourning and called forth the sympathy of every household in the land. As a matter of fact, I suppose the number of deaths in 1910 considerably exceeded those in any previous year, although proportionately much less than existed thirty or forty years ago.
The miner's occupation is, and I am afraid must remain, a dangerous one. A miner, when he goes down to his work in a cage, when he walks along the underground road to the face where his day's labour is spent, and, most of all, when he is working at the actual face of the coal, is liable to a dangerous accident at any moment. In many mines he runs the additional risk of one of those terrible explosions arising either from fire damp or from coal dust, or of an outbreak of fire, and any of these may suddenly hurl him to destruction, or, what is much worse, leave him without hope of rescue to a lingering and agonising death. You may inquire how we compare in regard to fatal and other accidents with other countries. I am glad to say that, comparing this country with the United States of America, our death rate is proportionately very much smaller. Comparing our condition with Germany, it is decidedly better. Comparing it with France, I am afraid it is rather worse, with the single exception of that year in which there was the great disaster at Courrières. Comparing our position with i Belgium, I regret to say that it is considerably worse; and as Belgium has mines which are very deep, which are very fiery, which are very dangerous as to structure in reference to roofs and sides, I cannot help thinking that there is some room for improvement for us. As a matter I of fact, in Clause 30 of this Bill we are adopting a suggestion which has been obtained from Belgium for the classification I of mines. The clause is simple in itself and merely gives power for a classification of mines, but the real meaning of it is that in accordance with the classification the; ventilation will be arranged. Where there is need for more air in order to keep i down fire damp it will be compulsory that o more air shall be admitted. Belgium has 703 given great attention to this question of ventilation, and although I do not know the conditions of Belgium I think it must be partly on that account that her statistics are more favourable than ours.
This Bill deals almost entirely with the health and safety of those employed in connection with this industry. Some contentious points in connection with mining which do not directly affect health and safety were, if I may respectfully say so, by the good sense of those interested in the trade left on one side in the discussions in another place—I refer to such questions as weighing and check-weighing and the eight hours question—and the Bill comes before your Lordships to a large extent as an agreed measure. Numerous points were settled by conferences, others in Grand Committee, and some few questions were left for final decision on Report. The points which were disputed both in Committee and on Report were rarely, if ever, pressed on the Report Stage to a Division. There will be few Amendments | of any substance that I shall have to ask this House to pass, and as far as I know they will all be of a non-contentious character; and there will be a good many purely drafting Amendments directed to the harmonising of the language of the Bill and to the removal of obscurities.
So much on the general question of the Bill. I would like now to describe very briefly some of the important changes in the law which this measure effects. The Bill is in several parts. Part I deals with the question of management. Every mine, except very small ones, must be under a manager. He must give daily personal supervision, and if he is the manager of more than one mine there must be an under-manager for each mine, and in the case of the unavoidable absence of both the manager and the under-manager there must be a man appointed to take their place who is the holder of a first-or second-class certificate, and who is twenty-five years of age. There are provisions which will prevent a man being a manager of more mines than he can properly control and look after, and which will even prevent him from being the manager of more than one mine if there are more than 1,000 workers underground in that mine unless the Inspector gives his approval. The qualification for a manager is that he must hold a first-class certificate, be twenty-five years 704 of age, and have had five years' practical experience in a mine. The five years may be lowered to three years if he has certain recognised diplomas, but at the very least he must have had three years' practical experience in a mine. A change is made in regard to the examinations for these certificates. Hitherto there have been various boards in different parts of the country, and there has been a tendency to too great difference in the qualifications insisted upon, but by the provisions of this Bill there will be only one Board in future. That Board will consist of six representatives of the owners, six representatives of the workmen, the Chief Inspector, two Divisional Inspectors, and two men eminent in mining and scientific knowledge who are to be chosen by the Secretary of State.
I turn now to the firemen, who have been well called the non-commissioned officers of the mine. It is their duty to inspect the mine daily—in fact, much more often than daily—for inflammable gases; to test the air currents, and see that the ventilation is right; to know the condition of the roofs and sides, and altogether to provide, as far as human care can provide, for the safety of the miners who are going to work. They must carry out their examinations before every shift, and if the shifts are continuous they must also make an examination at distances of time not greater than five hours. The qualification for firemen is that they must be twenty-five years of age, or, if they are younger, they must be holders of a first-or second-class certificate, and they must also have had five years' experience in a mine, two years of which must have been at the face. They have to give proof that they are qualified to make an accurate test of gas, which requires good sight and some practice, I believe, and they must also show that they are qualified to measure air currents.
I pass from the firemen to the clauses dealing with what is known as self-inspection. There is an arrangement in our present legislation by which the miners can appoint two representatives who can themselves inspect and investigate the safety of the mines. The change that is made in regard to self-inspection is that now the report which these inspectors appointed by the miners make must be entered in a book and must be brought to the notice of the manager. One or two very serious explosions have occurred through defects 705 which, had the manager known of them, could have been stopped, and which might, have been brought to the notice of the manager had these inspectors entered their observations in a book and had the manager read the entry. There are to be more accurate plans of mines in future, showing the levels. It will also be necessary that these plans should be made by competent surveyors—that has not been necessary in the past—and there have also to be separate plans of the ventilation with the intake current of air marked blue and the return current red. Plans of abandoned mines must be deposited at the Home Office, and can be reclaimed if the mine is reopened, and there are provisions to secure that there shall be solid and dependable fencing round the mouths of old and abandoned mines. So much for Part I of the Bill.
I turn now to Part II, which I think is the most important part of the Bill. Part II deals with questions of safety. It embodies the old rules of the 1887 Act as amended, and includes the suggestions, or many of the suggestions, which were made by the Royal Commission. It would take me too long to refer in detail to all the alterations dealing with safety. In reference to the question of ventilation, I would just mention that there are some new standards set up. With regard to the intake airway, there must not be more than ¼ per cent, of inflammable gas. With regard to the return airway, haulage must not take place if there is more than ½ per cent, of inflammable gas. With regard to the withdrawal of men when conditions are dangerous, the miners must be withdrawn when there is 2½ per cent, of inflammable gas in a mine where safety lamps are used, and 1¼ where naked lights are used. There are also similar provisions setting up a standard in regard to what is known as "black damp," which consists of a condition of the air in which there is too little oxygen and too much carbon-dioxide. There are provisions in this part of the Bill dealing with safety lamps, with the winding of the men, with haulage and travelling roads, and with the question of roofs and sides, and I need hardly remind your Lordships that that is one of the greatest dangers to miners that exists. More than half the deaths in this country as a rule occur by falls of roofs and sides. There are other provisions in connection with electricity and coal dust.
706 Although I will not describe them in detail, I should like to refer to a few points on which there was a division of opinion in the other House up to the Report stage of the Bill. The first question to which I shall refer is that of safety lamps. In some parts of Scotland and in South Wales where naked lights are used there are a good many small explosions. These lights are used in mines where there is no very large quantity of inflammable gas and therefore you do not have great explosions, but there are a good many men killed every year by small explosions in mines where naked lights are used. One of the provisions of this measure—in Clause 32, subsection (1), paragraph (b)—is that safety lamps must be used in any mine where there has been an explosion of gas within the last twelve months. That paragraph was the subject of considerable discussion all through the debates in another place, and there was great division of opinion among miners and among mineowners as to whether safety lamps should be made compulsory or not. The Government at the Report stage left the question open to the House of Commons; it left the House to decide for itself what it wished, and by a large majority they came to the conclusion that in such a state of things as I have described safety lamps ought to be used. I sincerely hope that that decision will be upheld.
The next question to which I will refer is the difficult question of the two main intake airways which were recommended by the Royal Commission, but as to which the Royal Commission did not see their way to suggest that they should be compulsory. This question assumed great importance because of the Whitehaven explosion. At Whitehaven, noble Lords will remember, there was first of all an explosion, and then the mine caught fire. The explosion caused the destruction of some of the barriers which cut oil the intake airway from the return airway, and so the ventilation was very quickly short-circuited, and the return airway became full of fumes and it was impossible for the miners to escape. The poor men who were buried alive in that pit might possibly have been saved if there had been a second intake airway at some distance from the first by which they could have left the mine. There must be many old mines in which the cost of making a second intake airway would be so enormous if it were 707 made compulsory that it would probably lead to the closing of the mine. The final settlement of this question in the House of Commons was that in regard to new seams, and, of course, new mines, there should be two main intake airways, one used for haulage and one for travelling, smaller mines and wet mines being exempted even from that provision, but this provision is not made compulsory in the final form of this clause—Clause 42—for old mines. Another difficult question is the question of travelling on haulage roads. In regard to that, in Clause 43 noble Lords will see that travelling is to be allowed on haulage roads where there is slow haulage and adequate provision is made for a footpath and proper refuges at every few yards distance.
Another question that caused a good deal of discussion was that of the hours of enginemen. An Amendment was put in, I believe in Committee, limiting their hours of work to eight, but this was not popular with many of the men themselves, who desired some elasticity in order that they could relieve one another on certain occasions when it was convenient that that should be done, and work longer hours one day and shorter hours another. In the clause as now printed in the Bill the general principle of eight hours is established, but subject to general regulations for exemptions in cases where exemptions seem necessary. In reference to the question of electricity, another point on which there has been a good deal of controversy, electricity is forbidden in mines where it is considered dangerous, and the inspector has power to order the discontinuance. The standard of inflammable gas which is considered dangerous when electricity is used in a mine is 1¼ per cent., that being the same amount as is considered dangerous in the case of naked lights. Finally, in regard to this part of the Bill, there are provisions in Clause 61 for the prevention of coal dust. The difficulty in this case has not been a question of principle at all but of the great cost of making a change, and that matter has been eventually met by giving five years' grace to the owners so that they need not change their tubs to the new pattern for five years to come.
I turn now to Part III dealing with health. The whole of this part of the Bill is new. There is a disease, as your 708 Lordships know, which is generally called "miner's worm." It is scientifically known as ankylostomiasis. I am glad to say it has not appeared in any coal mine in this country, but it has appeared in German coal mines and in Cornish tin mines. The infection is usually carried by human excreta, and in this Bill power is given to make regulations for sanitary conveniences being universally provided both above ground and below. If that is done I should hope that this disease will never appear in the coal mines of this country.
Another interesting clause is Clause 76, which deals with the provision of baths. The Royal Commission, in the unanimous part of its Report, recommended the provision of baths but did not recommend that they should be provided by owners. The Minority Report of two representatives of labour recommended not only that baths should be provided compulsorily by owners, but that miners should be obliged I compulsorily to use them. It appears that some miners object; you may take the miner to the water, but you cannot always make him bathe; and as the result of a good deal of controversy and correspondence about this clause the clause has finally been altered to the form which it now assumes in this Bill. Its provisions shortly are these. Two-thirds of the miners may, if they wish and agree to pay half the cost, compel the owner to provide bathing accommodation, provided the cost of that bathing accommodation is not likely to exceed 3d. per week—that is to say, miners can by a two-thirds majority I compel the owner to provide the accommodation, but if they do they must agree to pay half the cost, and the owner need not provide the accommodation if the cost is going to be excessive. Passive resisters to bathing will have to pay their share provided the two-thirds majority is obtained. This is a very interesting experiment, and I shall be curious to see how it works out. In regard to the practice in foreign countries, bathing is compulsory in Westphalia, it has just been made I compulsory in Belgium, and is likely to be made compulsory in France.
The only other clause in this part of the Bill on which I need say a word is Clause 77, which is inserted in order to prevent that painful disease which is known as fibroid-phthisis. There are certain kinds of rock which when drilled give of a fine dust 709 which leads to this painful disease, and the provision in the Bill is that when those rocks are being drilled there must be a spray or jet of water playing on the part being drilled so that there may be no dust. Part IV of the Bill deals with provisions as to accidents. It is merely a I consolidating part of the measure, and there are only a few amendments in detail.
In Part V, dealing with regulations, there are some new provisions. There is a new method of arbitration (replacing the older and more cumbrous method) by one arbitrator who is to be selected from a panel of arbitrators to be nominated by the Lord Chief Justice; and there are also powers in this part of the Bill to make general regulations applying to a group of mines, instead of having to make special regulations for each mine by itself. Part VI of the Bill deals with the question of employment. The age of boys underground is to be raised to fourteen—one more step forward in the prohibition of child labour in this country; and the age of boys or girls who work in connection with the mines above ground is to be raised from twelve to thirteen. But the great question of controversy in regard to this part of the Bill was the question of pit brow women. I happen to come from Lancashire, and I must confess that my sympathies were with the pit brow women, and I admired the gallant, fight which they made. I did not see any of them, but I understand that a representative number of them came up to London to show those who were interested that they were neither deformed nor degraded nor broken down by hard work. I believe that those who came, at any rate, proved their case abundantly, and on the Report stage of this Bill in another place the paragraph which would have forbidden women to work at the pit brow in future was struck out, and an addition was made to another paragraph applying to boys, girls, and women that they were not to lift or to move too heavy a weight.
Clause 96 deals with the question of weekly wages. That, again, is a very contentious subject, but I believe it is largely a South Wales question. In Northumberland and Durham wages are paid fortnightly and I do not think any objection is taken by the miners, who have become accustomed to and prefer the system. The only objection, of course, 710 on the part of owners to pay wages weekly is the expense and difficulty of computing the amount to be paid. It is rather a costly proceeding, because all the wages, as noble Lords know, are paid under what is known as a piece-work system. However, the clause which makes wages payable weekly at the option of the miners is in the Bill now, and in regard to that question, although the matter I believe was discussed in the other House on Report, no Division was taken against the Bill as it now stands. The original objection of the Government in this matter was not at all an objection of principle; it was an objection to dealing with the question of wages in what they regard as chiefly a health and safety Bill.
Part VII deals with the appointment of inspectors and their powers and duties, and Part VIII is mainly concerned with arbitration and legal proceedings. There is only one matter in Part VIII to which I wish to call attention. There are new provisions with regard to the care and treatment of animals. The existing law is that the roads in a mine which are used for horse work or pony work must be sufficiently large for the horses or ponies to pass without rubbing, and the inspectors have power under the existing legislation to examine into the care which is exercised in regard to these animals. There are also further requirements made with regard to special rules. I dare say your Lordships will remember that a short time ago a very strong public agitation took place in regard to this matter and a good deal of feeling was aroused, and as the Royal Commission happened to be sitting at the time the Home Secretary asked them to investigate the question. They did so, and presented a valuable report. I am glad to say that they state that in their opinion some of the charges made by some of the agitators were grossly exaggerated, but they make a series of recommendations in considerable detail as to what should be done. It was the intention of the Government in the first place, as I think your Lordships know, not to put detailed regulations in the Bill but opinion on this matter in the House of Commons was so strong that a series of regulations has been put in the Third Schedule in reference to it. Horses must be tested for glanders before they are sent down into the pit. That, I am sure, everybody will agree is a very necessary and useful provision. There are tolerably minute regulations as to the stabling and 711 care of horses, and there was an Amendment put in at a very late stage that no blind horses are to be used. That is one of the questions on which people hold different opinions. Also—this is not a matter mentioned in the Schedule in question—an undertaking was given by the Government that the special inspectors to see that horses are properly taken care of are to be Government inspectors paid out of public funds.
My Lords, I apologise for the time I have taken, but I have only given a somewhat hurried account of this Bill. If I had gone into more detail, it would have taken far too much time, as the considerations—as noble Lords know who are interested in this question—at the back of the clauses of this Bill are often of a highly technical character. The Bill has been examined with great care in another place, and it is practically an agreed Bill as far as I know. I venture cordially to recommend it to your Lordships' favourable consideration, and I have pleasure in moving that the Bill be now read a second time.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a—(Lord Emmott.)
§ VISCOUNT CHILSTON
My Lords, I trust you will give me a few moments while I make some observations with regard to this Bill. I do not propose to in any way offer hostile criticism, but, on the contrary, to welcome the Bill, which, speaking for myself, I certainly consider the most useful and the most practical Bill which has been brought forward by His Majesty's Government this session. There is another reason why I think this Bill requires possibly less consideration in this House—that is, that it has received fair discussion in another place. This Bill comes here, therefore, without those blots and oversights which are common, if not essential, in all Bills which have been closured or guillotined in another place. The Bill has been very carefully considered in a Grand Committee, which, if my memory serves me, sat for something like twenty-three days, and it has also been carefully considered on Report in another place. The Bill, as the noble Lord said, was based upon the Report of a Royal Commission. That Commission was a particularly strong one, and was backed up by the very valuable experience of the experts of the Home Office. The Bill 712 consists of something like 130 clauses, seventy-five of them being practically consolidating clauses, and most of the amendments which have been put in beyond the consolidation clauses were proposals which received the unanimous recommendation of the Royal Commission.
I take some interest in this Bill, for although I had not the honour of appointing this Royal Commission, it was consequent upon a great deal of work which was going on at the Home Office when I had the privilege of administering it, and I know well what great care was taken to produce proper material upon which legislation might proceed. As the noble Lord has told us, this is the only really important Bill introduced on this matter since, I think, 1887, when my noble friend Lord Llandaff, who was then Secretary of State for the Home Department, introduced and carried the great measure of that year. I do not propose to ask the noble Lord opposite questions on points of detail, or to criticise individual clauses. I express my satisfaction especially that the Bill includes new provisions for the provision and care of winding apparatus, for signalling, and especially for the prevention of coal dust, because those are matters which were borne in upon me when I was at the Home Office as being very considerable sources of accident. The noble Lord explained to us why the Bill has not included the more controversial matters of check-weighing and eight hours. I think the Government, if I may say so, were wise in keeping those matters outside this consolidation Bill. The second, at all events, is a matter of very great controversy, and I do not mind confessing that my view is that I hope that measure may some day or another be repealed.
The noble Lord has told us of the various clauses which deal with the health of the miner. I do not think that we can maintain that a miner's occupation is at all an unhealthy one; in fact, the death rate among miners is 3 per cent, below the average. But there is no doubt, when you come to liability to accident, that it is a very dangerous occupation. The figures I saw the other day showed that the liability to death from accidents in mines is 247 to 100 in other trades, or more than double. Indeed, I think it was the Undersecretary for the Home Department who, speaking in another place the other day, 713 pointed out that every day, summer and winter, four men or boys were brought up dead from mines, and every day some 500 men and boys received some injury. If any justification was needed for a further extension of legislation surely those figures provide it; and so far as I and noble Lords on this side of the House are concerned, the noble Lord will not encounter any opposition to the principle of this Bill. The necessity for consolidation and amendment has long been fully recognised. This is in no sense a Party question. The noble Lord said that in another place this was considered an agreed Bill, and I think he may take it that it will be, certainly in principle, an agreed Bill in this House, for its object is the bringing of health and safety to over a million of our population, and helping an industry which is essential to our commerce and which provides the motive power not only for our marine, but for half of our manufactures. I will not detain your Lordships at greater length this evening. I may have some questions to ask the noble Lord opposite when the Bill is in Committee, but I can assure him that so far as I am concerned I will use my best endeavours to promote the successful passage of this Bill.
THE LORD BISHOP OF ST. ASAPH
My Lords, I apologise for addressing your Lordships on a Bill of this kind, and I should not do so were it not for the fact that coal-mining is one of the main industries in the Principality from which I come. I am afraid that the statement that this is an agreed Bill will not be acquiesced in by the proprietors of collieries in my own district, some of the principal ones of whom have told me that the existence of several collieries, where the margin of profit is very narrow, will be greatly imperilled by the passing of this Bill. Of course, some of the more striking defects in this measure have disappeared in another place, but even as the Bill stands to-day I am told that it contains defects of a more than superficial character. One blot on the Bill lies in the fact that it applies to all districts without consideration of, or provision for, the very different conditions under which coal has to be worked in different districts.
To take South Wales, the part of the country with which I am more familiar, it is the fact that we produce the best steam coal there, but the roofs are from the nature of the structure more dangerous to 714 the collier than in other coalfields. I think I am correct in saying that there are more deaths from roof falls in South Wales than from any other cause. I can find no more effective clause of the Bill which provides for the greater safety of the collier than Clause 42. On the other hand, Clause 43, which relates to travelling on haulage road, lays down an extra width of road, and those who are engaged in mining work in South Wales tell me that that extra width of road in their district would seriously increase the roof dangers. There are other provisions the character of which I think is rather evidenced by the fact that they are only imposed in the case of new mines. I From all I hear in my own country it does seem to me that there is reason to fear that the Bill would not substantially promote the security of the collier, whereas in some districts it would very substantially hamper the prosperity of the industry upon which his livelihood depends.
This fear is confirmed in my own mind by past experience. Your Lordships will remember the Coal Mines Regulation Act of 1908, known as the Eight Hours Act, with regard to which we were told by Mr. Winston Churchill that any small temporary restriction would be more than counterbalanced by the general tendency to expansion, just as the recoiling wave is lost in the advance of the tide. He added that the mining population would be I benefited in respect of health and their general habits of life, and we were also I warned by Mr. Churchill against making | prophecies. The noble Viscount on the other side of the House said that he hoped to see the Eight Hours Act repealed. What has been the result of that Act? The men can only work on an average about six hours on the face of the coal; overtime, of course, is made illegal. There is this very striking fact, that wages have never been at such a high rate for so long a period in our country—I think they are now 50 per cent, above the standard—and yet never has there been so much unrest and discontent in the coalfields, of course owing to curtailed wages. What happens is that they are continually agitating for allowances, and hence there are perpetual frictions in the working of the mines, and the cost of working collieries has been enormously increased by the Eight Hours Act. One point, which appeals to me particularly, is the disorganisation it has led to in the collier's home. Anyone who knows colliers' 715 houses will know how extremely hard it is on the colliers' wives. Many of them have told me that they get no rest at all owing to the disturbance in the house night and day. I repeat there is a great deal of unrest in the South Wales coalfields, and I venture to say without hesitation that one of the main causes of that unrest has been the Eight Hours Act; and if there is, as I hope indeed there may not be, a strike in the Welsh coalfields, that Act will have contributed very much indeed to the creation of the unrest which will have brought about 716 such a strike. It is not for me, of course, to oppose a Bill of this nature, but I must say in the face of the experience of the past that I regard the measure with some misgivings.
§ On Question, Bill read 2a and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Wednesday next.
§ House adjourned at five minutes past Seven o'clock, till To-morrow, Twelve o'clock.