§ 3.45 p.m.
§ THE LORD PRIVY SEAL (THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY)
My Lords, I rise to move: That as a mark of respect to the memory of the late Viscount Addison, and in appreciation of his long and distinguished public service, this House do now adjourn. It is not uncommon in this Chamber for tributes to be paid to eminent men—Cabinet Ministers and others—who have occupied high places and who have by their presence lent lustre to your Lordships' House. But it is a very rare event for the Adjournment of the House to be moved. That is the highest token of respect and affection that we can pay to a member of our body. It is a token of a very special character, in that it is essentially a manifestation of our own personal freedom. The last time this procedure was invoked, I am proud to think, was in memory of my own father. On that occasion the Adjournment was moved by my old friend himself whom we are mourning to-day. It falls to me this afternoon to perform the same office for him, who enjoyed to so high a degree the esteem and affection of us all.
It is not for me, on this occasion, to attempt to assess the value of Lord Addison's contribution to the public life 950 of this country during his earlier years. There are others who can speak with far more authority than I can about that period of his long career. I knew him only during the last decade of his life, but then, I think I can fairly say, I knew him very well indeed. It fell to him, and to a lesser degree to me, as Leaders of the two main Parties in this House, to help to guide the House through one of the most difficult and potentially dangerous periods in its long history. For the first time the House of Lords, with its great Conservative preponderance in its own House, was faced by an equally large Labour majority in another place. Many of the ideas of the Government of the day—let us be frank—were fundamentally antipathetic to us. Had the Labour Party in your Lordships' House been led by a man less wise, less far-sighted and less understanding than Lord Addison, clashes might have become inevitable which might have shaken the whole structure of the Constitution. But he showed throughout that difficult period a humanity, a sagacity and a moderation which not only made the system workable in these new and untried circumstances but also won him the warm and enduring affection even of those who were politically most bitterly opposed to him.
The reason I think is this. He had—and everyone knew he had—the interests of the House of Lords at heart. Not only was he, I am sure, personally devoted to this House, but he believed sincerely in its value as a Second Chamber, and he never concealed that view. Nor was this, after all, surprising, for he was—and I knew it from what he said to me, and your Lordships on the other side of the House know it even better—a convinced Constitutionalist, who believed passionately in the maintenance of the authority of Parliament over the Government of this country. To him the Executive was a body deriving its power from Parliament, and the bureaucracy were its expert advisers—they were nothing more. I remember very well hearing him once say to a civil servant who had been pressing strongly, and perhaps over-zealously, a Departmental view: "You do not seem to understand the position; it is not you who have to decide this—it is Parliament." My Lords, I think that was typical of the whole of his outlook throughout his life, and though no doubt 951 he was a convinced Socialist in the sense that he believed in ownership by the State, he believed equally, I think, that the State must be the servant and not the master of the people. In that sturdy independence of view he had, I believe, much in common with the old Radical stock from which he had sprung; and independence of mind is equally a quality which will always commend itself to your Lordships—it is indeed, I suggest, the highest quality a public man can have. And Lord Addison had it in full measure.
My Lords, we in this House respected the man and we loved him. He was a stout-hearted, a wise, and a very human Englishman, and I believe that both this House and his country are the poorer by his death. He died full of years and honour. I would send on your Lordships' behalf sincere sympathy to Lady Addison and his family, whose sorrow we so greatly share. My Lords, I beg to move.
§ Moved, That as a mark of respect for the memory of the late Viscount Addison, and in appreciation of his long and distinguished public service, this House do now adjourn.—(The Marquess of Salisbury.)
§ 3.52 p.m.
§ EARL JOWITT
My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Marquess the Leader of the House, not only for his action in putting down this Motion but also for the moving tribute that he has paid to our very dear old friend Christopher Addison. I think it was the prophet Isaiah who said:Out of the fulness of the heart the mouth speaketh.I confess that I never found it more difficult to say anything than I do now because, as your Lordships may know, my relationship with Christopher Addison was very close and very happy, and very precious to me, for some six and a quarter years.
I first got to know him well when, in the Labour Government of 1929, he was Minister of Agriculture and I was Attorney-General. He had all sorts of schemes and projects, some of which were, and some of which perhaps were not, strictly within the law; and we used to consult a great deal to see what we could do about them. He was an 952 amazingly good Minister of Agriculture—I think because he himself had sprung from the soil. It was not a case of a townsman talking about agriculture; it was a case of a countryman, who knew the problems, talking about agriculture; and he showed in those years great ingenuity and resourcefulness in dealing with the problems of agriculture. I do not think it is too much to say that to a large extent succeeding Ministers of Agriculture of both Parties worked upon the foundations which he had laid in that short period of time. Then we became separated, for he came to this House a good deal earlier than I. I was a Minister in another place whilst he was here and our association was inevitably less close. When I became Lord Chancellor, in 1945, I was consoled by the thought that I was going to have as my Leader the man with whom I had worked so happily and of whom I was so fond.
Though Christopher Addison won great honour and great distinction, I believe that in the last six years of his life we all came to appreciate what a really remarkable man he was; and we came (the noble Marquess has used the word and there is no reason why I too should not use it) to love him. During the six and a quarter years that I was Lord Chancellor he was a strong refuge to me in my troubles. I used to go round to him and always received help and solace; and I looked on the friendship which we formed as the happiest experience that has come to me in my whole life. I never worked before, and I can never hope to work again, under such a Leader as Christopher Addison.
We sat in Cabinet together for six years; and those of your Lordships who know something about Cabinets will not be surprised to hear that Christopher Addison was by no means the most talkative member; but when he did speak, his opinion always had the most profound effect on his colleagues, for he had great experience to draw upon, he was wise and he was very shrewd. As the noble Marquess, the Leader of the House, has said, the fact that he himself and the Leader of the Liberal Party were on such happy personal terms with Lord Addison, and trusted him so absolutely, made for a happy relationship in this House, so that, in spite of the most acute political differences of opinion, personal 953 relationships always remained kindly. We of his own Party on these Benches realise more even than noble Lords opposite what we have lost. We as a Party had, no doubt, in the opinion of some noble Lords opposite, a larger share than the average of original sin, and we ourselves thought perhaps at times that we had none. As to that I am not sure, but certainly we were a happy Party; we were a happy family. And that was entirely due to the personality of Christopher Addison. What he cared about most was that his lieutenants and all the members of his Party should do well, and he was always ready to help and advise. Nothing made him happier than when one of his team did a good job of work.
He was a most affectionate man. I am glad to feel that I have many letters written by him to me which bear witness to that fact. He loved kindness and he hated harshness; and if anyone had a grievance he would always go out of his way to see that, if possible, that grievance was removed. Affectionate, unselfish, tolerant, he was without a trace of snobbishness. He was natural: he had sprung from the people and was proud of it. In his early days he had made a mark as a surgeon; and in his closing years he loved the association which his membership of the Royal College of Surgeons brought to him. Towards the end, as I know very well, he showed great courage and fortitude when he realised that the surgeons could do no more. Almost the last thing he said to me as he pressed my hand was: "I want you to take my place in the House of Lords." For that reason I shall certainly try, though his place is a place which it is impossible to fill. We read that men pass and… fly forgotten as a dreamDies at the opening day",but Christopher Addison will never be forgotten by those of us who had the privilege of working with him. We shall feel ourselves inspired by his example. We shall try, however humbly, however falteringly, to follow in his footsteps.
I will add only this. During those six and a half years no one knows better than I do that Lady Addison was a constant help to him. She watched over him tenderly and with loving care. As the noble Marquess has said on behalf of 954 the whole House, we would tender our most respectful sympathy and at the same time our thanks to her.
§ 4.2 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT SAMUEL
My Lords. I do not think that the House of Lords can ever have had a Leader better loved than Lord Addison. He had here, as elsewhere, a host of friends and no enemies. During the years that he was Leader of this House, although his own supporters formed only a small fraction of this Assembly, and although matters of acute controversy were constantly arising, the Business of this House proceeded with the greatest of smoothness and, indeed, of amiability. The noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, has borne testimony to that. What the noble Marquess could not say, but I can, is that those happy circumstances were due very largely to the restraint of the powerful Opposition, under the wise guidance of Lord Salisbury himself; but in addition there was the influence of the sympathetic, straight-forward personality of the Leader of the Government in this House.
Lord Addison was successful in the arts of leadership precisely because he never practised the arts of leadership. He was a man of forward-looking, constructive mind. If any of us came to him with a proposition, his natural approach would be to say: "Yes, if it can be done." He was not one of those of whom it is said—and it is believed that there are quite a number in the Civil Service, in the various Departments—that, instead of endeavouring to find a solution for every difficulty, they are ingenious in providing a difficulty for every solution. At the same time, he held his own convictions firmly, and was a robust advocate of the principles and policies in which he believed. I am inclined to think that in his long and varied career the years that he spent in the service of this House were among the happiest.
He loved his work here and, at the same time, he had great opportunities in the offices of State which he held, particularly as Minister for Commonwealth Relations, and also as Lord President of the Council, since that brought him into close touch with questions of scientific research. I knew him first when we were both Liberal Members of the House of Commons more than forty years ago, and I saw him last in St. Bartholomew's 955 Hospital, two days before he left to be taken home to die. A doctor by profession and distinguished in his early career as a university professor of anatomy and in other activities in medical science, he knew precisely what his own illness was, and was well aware of its inevitable and speedy end. But that did not appear to trouble him in the least. He talked to me for half an hour of the work of this House and of some of its personalities, but most of all about the Medical Research Council, in which he was keenly interested and of which he had been the Chairman for some years. His main anxiety was that someone should be appointed to succeed him who would be worthy of the importance of the work done by that great and beneficent body. So has ended his long life, a life of service, a life pure and noble. To his devoted wife and to his children we would offer our respectful sympathy.
§ 4.7 p.m.
THE LORD BISHOP OF ELY
My Lords, the most reverend Primate, to his very great regret, is prevented by an engagement that he cannot postpone from being present in your Lordships' House this afternoon to add, on his own behalf and on behalf of the Bishops, their affection for and respect for the memory of Lord Addison, and he has asked me to speak on his behalf, I am speaking also on behalf of the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of London who, as many of your Lordships may be aware, is united by ties of marriage with Lord Addison, and on behalf of the Bishop of Winchester who, as Prelate of the Order of the Garter, would have wished to be present here this afternoon. The Bishop of London has an engagement which it is impossible to postpone, and the Bishop of Winchester is kept in Winchester by affairs to do with his impending resignation.
All the Bishops would wish to join in what has been said by the noble Marquess the Leader of the House and other noble Lords regarding our respect and affection for Lord Addison. Most of us did not have the opportunity of knowing him except in his later years. He was allowed to enjoy in old age up to the last the fruits of a life of integrity and long service, and we bear in happy memory one who gave himself entirely to the 956 service of his country and his fellows. I myself had the privilege of meeting Lord Addison only once, but that one occasion was sufficient to teach me immediately the reason why he had a host of friends and why all of them dearly cherish his memory. It is not necessary for me, nor indeed should I be able, to add anything, on behalf of the most reverend Primate and the Bishops in your Lordships' House, to what has already been said of Lord Addison. I beg to offer to Lady Addison and his family our deep sympathy.
§ 4.10 p.m.
§ LORD WEBB-JOHNSON
My Lords, I feel sure you will understand the feeling of pride that I have, that a member of my profession should have earned the high regard of this House and of the people of this country, and should have had the tributes of affection lavished upon him which we have heard from all sides to-day. My pride is not confined only to the individual. As I have thought back on Christopher Addison's life I have recalled that it was a doctor, Sir William Petty, who founded the science of political economy, and that Walter Foster, a great medical scientist, as Lord Ilkeston adorned and enriched the debates in this House and rendered great service to the State. Nor do I forget that Sir Charles Tupper was Prime Minister of Canada, that Starr Jameson was a Prime Minister in South Africa, that Earl Page was a prominent statesman in Australia and for a short time Prime Minister, and also that at the present time Sir Godfrey Huggins, a Fellow of my College, is Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia. I recall these things with pride and I carefully abstain from referring to other members of my profession still living—it might be invidious—but many of them have held high office in the State. The service of the profession in politics is not confined to this country. Sun Yat Sen. the first President of China, was a doctor. Clemenceau was a doctor, and had he lived he might have fired the soul of France and steeled her will to resist. But I do not claim that all doctors who take to politics are worthy of special recognition. For instance, Marat was a doctor; so was Guillotin, but he seems to have devoted his activities mainly to destroying life rather than endeavouring to save it.
957 There is another point to which I should like to refer, and I hope it will be some comfort to your Lordships and others who were fond of our friend. I refer to the value of eponymous nomenclature. To give the title of ilio-inguinal ligament to a structure of the human body instead of calling it Poupart's Ligament after the anatomist who first described it, is robbing the subject of much of its romance. British resistance prevented the destruction of eponymous nomenclature. Eponyms play a very useful part in the teaching of a subject and stimulating interest in history. For instance, there is romance when you refer to the veins of Galen; there is much more than romance in the Fallopian tubes. There is at times a considerable inconvenience in the Eustachian tubes. These are examples of Italian anatomists, but workers of all nations are remembered for their contributions to the subject. From Denmark we have Stensen; from Holland, Sylvius; France enriches us with Petit, Poupart, Charcot, and Dupuytren; Russia with Pirogoff and Pavlov. We have Retzius from Sweden and Arnold from Germany. Stimulation of Arnold's nerve, sometimes called the Alderman's nerve, which supplies the lobe of the ear, refreshes the digestive organs and enables a person to take yet another course, because it is a branch of the vagus which supplies the stomach. The contribution of great names is richer from this country than from any other. There are the names of Hunter and Lister, and of Percivall Pott and Abernethy of Bart's, Christopher Addison's alma mater. There is Charles Bell, of Bell's nerve, and Willis, of the Circle of Willis, the arterial circle at the base of the brain, which it might interest your Lordships to know was illustrated by Christopher Wren.
I hope I have not wearied your Lordships with an anatomical lecture, but this I did wish to emphasise and your Lordships to appreciate, that our departed friend marches in a noble company, and his name will live in the teaching of the science of anatomy, a subject which he chose for his own and which he greatly enriched and adorned. For generations to come students will hear or read of Addison's Trans-pyloric Plane. Those of inquiring turn of mind will ask, "Who was Addison?" That is one of the values of eponyms in teaching. When students 958 turn to the eloquent and moving tributes that have been paid to Viscount Addison in this House to-day, as a man and as a statesman, they will know that he was more than a great anatomist; he was a great man.
§ 4.18 p.m.
My Lords, I should like to add a few words to the tributes that have already been paid to the late Lord Addison. Already adequate and eloquent tributes have been paid to his distinguished public service, but I feel that I can speak for most of those who do not sit on the Front Benches in saying that those tributes find a ready echo in the hearts of noble Lords both on the opposite side and on this side of the House. From the time when the noble Viscount, Lord Addison, took on the leadership of this House, we looked upon him as a man of deep understanding and of broad outlook, of a forward-thinking mind (as has already been so well said by a previous speaker), and one to whom we could look for advice and help on the many subjects that crop up in your Lordships' House.
One part of his work always appealed to me very much—namely, the work that he did when he was at the Ministry of Agriculture. There he laid the foundation for much of the success that has followed from legislation introduced by the Party to which noble Lords opposite belong and also by the Party represented on this side of the House. I believe he educated his own Party to understand the principle of just prices for the produce of agriculture, and I want to take this opportunity of paying my very inadequate testimony to that aspect of his work. To those who sit on. these Benches, and I am sure to those who sit on other Benches, what most commended the late Lord Addison to us was his unfailing humanity and his capacity for understanding the point of view of those who differed with him. That is a very great quality in a Leader in this House; indeed, it is so in any House and in any community. We here recognise the qualities that have been already so well described, and which formed the character, the very lovable character, of the late Lord Addison. The House has sustained a loss which we all deplore and feel very acutely indeed. I can only express the hope that in the future, as in 959 the past, those qualities, and the intentions which lay behind all the energy and the ability Lord Addison put into the various measures which he advocated, will be collected and focused in this House and elsewhere, to achieve at any rate many of the objects that are common to all political Parties in the State. With those few words I should like to endorse everything that has already been said. I know that the House will pay this signal and singular honour to the memory of one whom we all most deeply respected.
§ 4.21 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT STANSGATE
My Lords, I rise with a great deal of hesitation because I can add nothing to the dignity, authority and eloquence of the praise which to-day has been awarded to Lord Addison. I wish to speak as a personal friend. Though the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, was his contemporary in the House of Commons, as was the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Simon, I was Lord Addison's close collaborator and I should like to say something of him as a man before we part. If some of my material may seem personal and slight it must be remembered that it is such memories, matured by the passage of time, which form the substance of human friendship.
I knew Lord Addison first when he came into the House of Commons in 1910. I was then a Whip, and we joined immediately in the small task of reorganising the Liberal Party. I found at once, of course, that I was working with someone of immense administrative ability; but I realised something more—that he was a man of real modesty, for he entered on the work with the willingness and zeal of a beginner, though he already had behind him a reputation, and even a fame, in his own profession, to which Lord Webb-Johnson has referred. Our friendship was much strengthened by the growing disapproval of the Liberals whom we were trying to reform. They were glorious days. There were Liberals and Tories. The Liberals hated the Tories and the Tories hated the Liberals; both were sure they were right. In particular, Lord Addison and I joined in denouncing your Lordships' House as a Citadel of Reaction—which indeed it was, and still is:Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive.960 An then the curtain of war descended, and everything was changed. Mr. Lloyd George, with great discernment, picked out Lord Addison for high office, which he held to his own credit and to the advantage of the State. The next time I saw him was, I suppose, in 1918. I remember the place. We walked up and down the platform at King's Cross station, and I pleaded passionately with him to leave the Coalition and join in a Radical crusade. He refused, and I found out something more about him—that he preferred a little achievement to much talk. That was the reason he remained in the Coalition. He was given office—he was, I believe, the first Minister of Health. He got his achievement in the Addison House, which established a norm of domestic decency for working people which is still accepted to-day. But it was very costly. The Government were frightened, and someone had to be cast overboard. Lord Addison was selected. It was not so much the fact that he lost his office that mattered, as the contumely with which he was treated. I myself know how bitter that was to him, as it was discreditable to his detractors. It might have been thought that that was politically his end; but it was not so. He served in the Government of 1924, but I did not meet him again personally until we sat together in the Cabinet of 1929, and we went together over the precipice in the catastrophe—as I call it—of 1931.
Our next meeting was in queer circumstances. It was in a back room of the Labour Club at Gorton, where, with others, we were competitors for a great prize—namely, a safe seat in the House of Commons. When I won, he shook me by the hand and wished me luck. I looked him in the eye and I saw sincerity there. It was not just a formal and sporting gesture. He came here and it was here, as the noble Marquess has said, that he made his most remarkable contribution, if not to history, to Parliamentary history. The Government had been returned with a large majority and a revolutionary programme. Here was a House believing all that programme to be wrong, yet it had to be passed without a rupture. Somehow this House had to be kept within the Constitution. That was the problem, as the noble Marquess has said. The danger 961 was real. I remember the occasion in 1911 when I stood at the Bar of the House and saw the late Lord Rosebery from those Cross-Benches trying to persuade the House to accept the 1911 Bill. Those were times of stress and constitutional danger. The fact that the programme of 1945 was carried through without a break was due in the first place to Lord Addison's genius, but it was due also to the wisdom, the power and influence, and, I should add, the charm, of the present Leader of the House. It was due also to the common sense of the House itself.
Do your Lordships remember the day, a year or two ago, when His Majesty came down to open Parliament in full feudal splendour? There he was with his Robe and Crown. There was the Lord Chancellor, on bended knee. There was the Sword of State, as it might have been in the time of Richard the First. There was the Cap of Maintenance, carried by a High Officer of State. But look again at the picture: the Sword of State is held high by a Socialist doctor. The Cap of Maintenance is carried by a Welsh miner. The Speech from the Throne is a Socialist manifesto. The whole structure of society is being transformed, yet the facade of Parliamentary institutions is unaltered. I do not believe in puffing up my own country, but I think we had here a proof of an instinctive Parliamentary traditionalism which is especially ours. If that is so, we should be proud of it. I admit that sometimes I was exasperated by the consideration shown by Lord Addison to the Opposition. But then one of your Lordships would try him too high; that bright eye would flash, that fist would come down on the Box with the strength of youth, and we were reassured to know that under that snowy thatch there still blazed the old beliefs. Well, he has gone. We shall never see his dear old face again. We shall not forget him, and we shall not soon find his like. To her who shared his labours, 962 who was partner in his triumphs—and who is now alone—we offer this word of respectful sympathy.
§ 4.30 p.m.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR (LORD SIMONDS)
My Lords, it is, I think, customary and proper that on such an occasion as this a few words should be spoken from this place, and I count myself privileged to be able to join in paying a tribute to one who for so long occupied an honoured position in this House. We here to-day commemorate a wise and a good man. In Lord Addison there was nothing ornate, nothing subtle, nothing pretentious and nothing vain; and so it is that, when I search in my mind for words most apt to describe his virtues, my thoughts turn naturally to those two simple English words. He was wise and he was good, and those virtues of wisdom and goodness, united in him, endowed him with other virtues. He had a shining sincerity. And, since it is the first part of wisdom to know oneself, and since to know oneself truly is to be humble, Lord Addison had that characteristic of essential humility which, in a man who has played for so long a part in the world's great affairs, endears him, I think, more than anything else to his fellow men. And so too, since goodness knows no political allegiance, nor is bounded by any Party walls, Lord Addison's understanding and sympathy went out to all men of all Parties and of all conditions. Just as his sympathy and understanding went out to all men, so from all men he received profound respect and great affection, as your Lordships' speeches from all sides of the House to-day have so eloquently testified. So he has gone, but his memory remains. It will be a long, long day before it fades away.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to nemine dissentiente: House adjourned accordingly at twenty-seven minutes before five o'clock.