Carlton Joseph Huntley Hayes.

British social politics; materials illustrating contemporary state action for the solution of social problems online

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The following pages are an attempt to place at the command of
college and university students some first-hand materials for the
study of current political and social problems. From many volumes
of parliamentary debates, reports, and statutes have been selected,
in the first place, a few of the most important Acts which have
been passed by the British Parliament since the Liberal Govern-
ment came into power in 1905, dealing with a vast range of social
problems and activities that the Industrial Revolution had brought
face to face with a typical modern democracy ; and secondly, extracts
from the debates in the House of Commons and in the House of
Lords with a view to illustrating different points of view which
various classes, political parties, and prominent persons have enter-
tained on these liberal and radical proposals.

To study the social problem in Great Britain should be a valu-
able introduction to the study of all the grave problems that con-
front every modern industrial state. To appreciate the efforts of
contemporary statesmen in Great Britain to provide governmental
solutions, partial at least, for these problems should be illuminating
not only to the student of present-day affairs, but likewise to the
historian who would sketch the development of society and social
legislation or trace the marvellous growth of state activity in mod-
ern times. And possibly knowledge of these matters will not be
confined to professional scholars ; the speeches of Mr. Asquith and
Mr. Lloyd George and Mr. Churchill and many another have not an
exclusively academic flavour or interest — they are making history.

An introductory chapter serves as an apology for the title and
scope of this book. It makes no pretension to deal exhaustively or
even adequately with any special event of the nineteenth century —


merely to point out a lane of approach to the study of contempo-
rary British history and how such study may be profitably linked
up with the great highway of general nineteenth-century history.

Many topics indirectly of social and political significance might
have been included in the volume had space permitted. But, in
general, land laws, Irish Home Rule, and Welsh Disestablishment
have been inexorably crowded out by Employers' Liability, Labour
Unions, Child Welfare, Old Age Pensions, Budget Reform, the de-
cline of the House of Lords, and National Insurance. It is quite
obvious, too, that the very nature of the subject-matter will militate
against its permanence. Most of the enactments herein presented
will no doubt be superseded, or, at least, amended in detail, in the
near future, for finality is not a common attribute of governmental
regulations, and the solution of one problem frequently acts to
create another. It is hoped, however, that occasional new editions
may keep the work near to date.

To several authorities I am under obligations. First of all
should be mentioned the reporters of the great mass of parliament-
ary proceedings, who, quite as anonymous as the monastic chroni-
clers of the Middle Ages, have infinitely surpassed the monks in
the wealth of information with which they have supplied us. Then I
would express gratitude to the compilers of the "Annual Register "
and to the writers on the London .Times and the Spectator^ from
whose digests and reports I have drawn freely. And I would con-
fess the stimulus which has been given this work by the perusal
of the writings of such enthusiastic British Liberals as Mr. David
Lloyd George, Mr. Winston Churchill, Mr. J. A. Hobson, and
Mr. Percy Alden. To my colleague. Professor Charles A. Beard,
I am indebted for the immediate suggestion of the work, as well
as for a lively sympathy with its purpose and valuable criticism in

its completion.

Columbia University




1. The Home Secretary on Workmen's Compensation . . 22

Mr. M. J. Gladstone, Commons, March 26, igo6

2. Conservative Reply to the Home Secretary .... 32

Mr. A. Akers-Douglas, Commons, Alarch 26, igo6

3. Labour Reply to the Home Secretary 34

Mr. G. N. Barnes, Commons, Ma/r/i 26, igo6

4. Mr. Joseph Chamberlain on Workmen's Compensation 36

Commons, Marc/i 26, igo6

5. Sir Charles Dilke on Workmen's Compensation ... 38

Commons, Afril 4, igo6

6. Employer's Attitude toward Workmen's Compensation 41

Mr. H. G. Montgomery, Commons, April 4, igo6

7. Employee's Attitude toward Workmen's Compensation 43

Mr. J. R. Clynes, Commons, April 4, igo6

8. Foreshadowing National Insurance 45

Mr. H. J. Gladstone, Commons, December /j, igo6

9. Third Reading of Workmen's Compensation Bill . . 46

Mr. Joseph Walton, Commons, December ij, igob

10. Workmen's Compensation Act, 1906 47

6 Echo. 7, ch. J 8

11. Workmen's Compensation (Anglo-French Convention)

Act, 1909 72

g EJw. 7, ch. 16





12. Introduction of Trade Unions and Trade Disputes Bill 80

Sir John Walton, Conunons, March 28., igo6

13. Trade Disputes Act, 1906 85

6 Eihv. 7, ch. 4"^

14. Trade Union Act, 1S71 87

34 ^35 ^''<:i-, '-'^'■3^ {in part)

15. Trade Union Act, 1876 95

3g <S)^ 40 Vict., ch. 22 {in part)

16. Conspiracy and Protection of Proi-erty Act, 1875 • • 9^

j(? &^ 3g Vict., ck. 86 (in part)

17. Labour and the Payment of Members of Parliament 102

Mr. Arthur Lee and Mr. Ramsay Macdonald, Commons,
August 10, igi I


18. Provision of Meals for School Children no

Mr. W. T. Wilson, Com7nons, March 2, igob

19. Opposition to Provision of Meals 112

Mr. Harold Cox, Commons, March 2, igo6

20. Government Advocacy of Provision of Meals .... 116

Mr. Augustine Birrell, Coninions, March 2, igo6

21. Education (Provision of Meals) Act, 1906 119

6 Eihv. 7, ch.§j

22. Introduction of Notifications of Birth Bill, 1907 . . 122

Lord Robert Cecil, Commons, April 23, igoj

23. Introduction of Children Bill, 1908 124

Mr. Herbert Samuel, Commons, February 10, igoS


24. Promise of Old Age Pensions 134

Mr. H. II. Asquith, Commons, April iS, igoj

25. Renewed Promise of Old Age Pensions 138

Mr. H. H. Asquith, Commons, May J, igo8



26. Second Reading of Old Age Pensions Bill 140

Mr. David Lloyd George, Commons, June ij, igoS

27. Opposition to Old Age Pensions Bill 143

Mr. Harold Cox, Commons, June ij, igo8

28. A Conservative Opponent to the Government Bill . 149

Lord Robert Cecil, Commons, June /j, igo8

29. Skepticism on Old Age Pensions 151

Mr. A. J. Balfour, Co>ntnons,Jiily g, igo8

30. Labour Defence of Old Age Pensions 157

Mr. William Crooks, Commons, July g, igo8

31. Opposition to the Bill in the House of Lords . . . 160

Earl of Wemyss, Lords, July 20, igo8

32. Danger of Dispute with the House of Commons . . 163

Earl of Rosebery, Lords, July 20, igo8

33. An Anglican Bishop on Old Age Pensions 165

Bishop of Ripon, Lords, July 20, igo8

34. Old Age Pensions Act, 1908 167

8 Ed2o. 7, ck . 40

35. Old Age Pensions Act, 1911 176

I dr' 2 Geo. 5, ch. 16


36. Report of Poor Law Commission, 1909 187

Resiune f7vm the ^^ Annual Register^''

37. Government Proposals on Unemployment 191

Mr. Winston Churchill, Comtnons, May ig, igog

38. Conservative Position on Unemployment 206

Mr. F. E. Smith, Commons, May ig, igog

39. Labour Party's Attitude toward Unemployment . . . 209

Mr. Arthur Henderson, Commons, May ig, igog

40. Labour Exchanges Act, 1909 213

g Edw. 7, ck. 7




■^ 41. Introduction of the Trade Boards Bill 220

Mr. Winston Churchill, Commons, March 2if., igog ;
Sir Frederick Banbury, ibid.

42. Second Reading of the Trade Boards Bill 226

Mr. H. J. Tennant, Comtnons, April 28, igog

43. Sweated Labour and Foreign Competition 236

Mr. A. J. Balfour, Commons, April 28, igog

44. A Labour View of the Trade Boards Bill 238

Mr. T. F. Richards, Commons, April 28, igog

45. The Lords' Debate — a Liberal View 241

Lord Hamilton of Dalzell, Lords, August jo, igog

46. The Lords' Debate — a Conservative View 245

Marquess of Salisbury, Lords, August jo, igog

47. Trade Boards Act, 1909 247

g LLdw. 7, ch. 22


48. General Principles of the Housing and Town Plan-

ning Bill 269

Mr. John Burns, Commons, April j, igog

49. Detailed Explanation of the Housing and Town

Planning Bill 278

Earl Beauchamp, Lords, September 14, igog

50. Dangers of Bureaucracy 285

Earl of Onslow, Lords, September //, igog

51. Friendly Ecclesiastical Attitude toward Town Plan-

ning 287

Bishop of P)irmingham, Lords, September 14, igog

52. Housing, Town Planning, etc. Act, 1909 291

g Echo. 7, eh. 44 [in pari)

53. Conservative Opposition to the Development Bill . . 314

Lord Robert Cecil, Commons, September 6, igog



54. Reply TO Conservative Opposition to Development Bill 324

Mr. David Lloyd George, Commons, September 6, igog

55. Labour View of the Development Bill 329

Mr. G. N. Barnes, Commons, September 6, igog

56. Explanation ok the Development Bill 330

Earl Carrington, Lords, October 14, igog

57. Development and Road Improvement Funds Act, 1909 334

g Ed'ci). 7, ch. 4J {in paH)


58. The Budget Speech of 1909 361

Mr. David Lloyd George, Comvions, April 2g, igog

59. A Socialist's View of the Budget 381

Mr. Philip Snowden, Commons, iVovember 2, igog

60. Ecclesiastical Opposition to the Budget 388

Bishop of Bristol, Lords, N^ovember 22, igog

61. A Liberal Lord's Opinion of Ecclesiastical Opposition 390

Lord Sheffield, Lords, November 22, igog

62. An Attack upon the Sponsor of the Bill 392

Lord Willoughby de Broke, Lords, iVovember 22, igog

63. A Financier's View of the Budget 394

Lord Revelstoke, L^ords, November 22, igog

64. Ecclesiastical Support of the Budget 395

Bishop of Birmingham, Lords, iVovember 22, igog

65. A Conciliatory Speech on the Budget 397

Lord Ribblesdale, Lords, iVovember 22, igog

66. An Extreme Conservative View of the Budget . . . 398

Duke of Marlborough, Lords, N'ovember 2j, igog

67. Lord Rosebery on the Budget 399

Earl of Rosebery, Lords, November 24, igog

68. Lord Morley on the Budget 402

Viscount Morley of Blackburn, Lords, A^ove>nber 2g, igog



69. The Lords' Rejection of the Budget 406

Earl of Crewe, Lords, N'ovember 30, igog

70. Finance (1909-10) Act, 1910 408

10 Edw. 7, ch. S {in paii)


71. Proposals for Restricting the Power of the House

OF Lords 438

Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, Conunons, Jinie 24, igoj

72. Defence of the House of Lords 449

Mr. A. J. Balfour, Commons, /ii 11 e 24, igoj

73. The Undemocratic Character of the House of Lords 456

Mr. D. Shackleton, Commons, Jinte 24, igoj

74. Defence of Two-Chamber Government 460

Sir William Anson, Commons, Jujie 24, igcj

75. The Issue between the Houses and the Parties . . . 464

Mr. Winston Churchill, Commons, June 2^, igo-j

76. An Arraignment of the House of Lords 470

Mr. David Lloyd George, Commons, June 2b, igoj

77. Exposition of the P.vrliament Bill 474

Earl of Crewe, Lords, November 21, igio

78. Opposition to the Parliament Bill 485

Marquess of Lansdowne, Lords, N'ovcmber 21, igio

79. Government Haste against the House of Lords . . . 494

Earl of Rosebery, Lords, iVovember 21, igio

80. Futility of Reforming the House of Lords . from


Lord Loreburn, Lords, jYovember 21, igio

81. Conservative Substitute for the Parliament Bill . . 497

Marquess of Lansdowne, Lords, N'ovember 23, igio

82. Support of the Lansdowne Resolutions 49^

Lord Ribblesdale, Lords, N'ovember 23, igio

83. Parliament Act, 1911 5°^

I &" 2 Geo. J, ch. I J




84. Exposition ok the National Insurance Bill 511

Mr. David Lloyd George, Commons, May 4, igii

85. Irish Support oe the National Insurance Bill . . . 535

Mr. John Redmond, Commons, May 4, igii

86. Defence of the National Insurance Bill 536 y

Mr. Sydney Buxton, Commons, May 24, igii

87. Lessons from German Experience 543

Sir Rufus Isaacs, Commons, May 24, igii

88. Attitude of the Latjour Party toward National

Insurance ,^7)

Mr. Ramsay Macdonald, Commons, May 2g, igii

89. Attitude of the Unionist Party toward National

Insurance 555

Mr. H. W. Forster, Commons, December 6, igii

90. National Insurance and Self-reliance 561

Lord Robert Cecil, Comnions, December 6, igii

91. Defects in the Government Bill 563

Mr. Bonar Law, Commons, December 6, igii

92. Final Plea for National Insurance 568

Mr. H. H. Asquith, Commons, December 6, igii






Two historical factors have conspired to bring about in our own
day a fundamental change in the convictions of many thoughtful
persons as to the proper scope and functions of government. In
the first place, the French Revolution not only abolished legal class
privilege and defined civil " rights " uniform for all citizens, but it
sounded the death knell of absolutism ; and its great dreams of
individual liberty and social equality and political brotherhood pro-
vided a powerful stimulus, throughout the nineteenth century, to
ever-recurring and increasingly successful movements throughout
Europe for the extension of the suffrage and the removal of legal
disabilities in society. In France, political democracy was gradually
evolved through kaleidoscopic changes of Legitimate Monarchy,
July Monarchy, Republic, Empire, and Republic. In England, a
like process was painfully in evidence during Peterloo Massacres,
and Chartist riots, and Reform agitations. In both countries, be-
fore the close of the century, the electorate had supposedly attained
a democratic mastery over one great institution — the government.

Of greater importance to us than the more or less theoretical
political principles proclaimed and exemplified by the French Revo-
lution are the very practical problems created by that series of
marvellous mechanical inventions and adaptations which has passed
under the name of the Industrial Revolution. Within the last
hundred years the whole social fabric has undergone a complete


transformation, until it has brought forth present-day capitalism
and the factory system and a wage-earning proletariat huddled
in great towns ; and novel facts have presented themselves which
could not be faced in the manner of the eighteenth century nor
run away from as the laissez-faire economists of the last century
would have done. So long as highly-developed industrial states —
countries directly affected by the4«4ustFial - RevoTution — -_gursiied
a' f raiTlTpolicy of governmental non-intervention, the j:apit alist class
deemed togr ow wealthier and more powerful, while the mass ^ f
wage-earners appeared to grow relatively poorer and more de-
graded. Under such conditions, written constitutional guarantees
of religious toleration and political equality did not suffice to ren-
der democracy real and vital. Soon after the French Revolution,
Baboeuf had declared :

When I see the poor without the clothing and shoes which they them-
selves are engaged in making, and contemplate the small minority who
do not work and yet want for nothing, I am convinced that government
is still the old conspiracy of the few against the many, only it has taken
a new form.

Gradually the__ ffl^orking clas ses, whom the Industrial Revolution
called into being, came to share Baboeuf 's opinion and to complain
that they suffered from class privileges infinitely more oppressive
than any of those against which the French revolutionists con-
tended. They began to believe that political rights and w ritten ,
constitut ions, of themselves, might be quite sterile, and to deman d
t he employment of political a gencies in order to secure equalil Y-Pf
opportunity for all classes and the well-being of each and eve ry
citizen, worker as well as capitalist. It followed quite naturally
from the interesting union of two revolutionary currents — the
political and the industrial — _th at thej 3eople _of each aff ected-state
thought of using their democratic representative mastery over gov -
ern ment, in proportion to the extent to which the y had achieve d
it, as a means through which to undertake industrial—regutetitDn
and general social control. That hasmeant the socialisation of


politics — government, in its wides t significance, of the-4>e©pte

and for tfie peo]Dle.

" Social politics " thus becomes a convenient phrase to indicate,
loosely perhaps, the present-day development of political democ-
racy and its utilisation for social purposes. Social equality is its
goal. Mr. Percy Alden, one of its distinguished advocates in the ^

BritishTarliament, writes in a recently pubFshed volume ^ • /" '^

Without claiming too much for the new programme which the Liberal
party has put forward, this, at least, may be asserted with confidence, that
it implies a desertion of the old individualist standard and the adoption of
a new principle — a principle which the Unionists call socialistic. If it be
true that a positive policy of social reconstruction savours of socialism,
then, of course, this contention can be justified. The rnajnj point is that
the function of the State in the mind of the Liberal and Radical of to-day

i s much wider in sco pe than see med possible to our prede cessors. The
State avowedly claims the right to interfere with industrial liberty and to
modify the old economic view of the disposal of private property. Liberal-

ism recognises that it is no longer possible to accept the view that all men
have arTequdl c hance, and that there Is nothing more to be done than
merely to hold evenl y the scales of government. As a matte r of fact, the
anom alies and the injustices of our present social system have compelled
ev en our opponents to introduce ameliorative legislation . But the Liberal
of to-day goes further. He asks tha t such economic changes shall be in-
t roduced as will make it pr»ggi"h1p fr.r pvpyy man to possess a minimum
of security and comfort. Property is no longer to have an undue claim ;
great wealth must be prepared to bear burdens in the interests of the
whole community. Our social system must have an ethical basis.

At least since Bismarck p revailed upon the German Reichstag j^^
to enact m easures to insure workingmen against sickness, accident, «
unernployment. and old age, the progres sive. governments of every
civilised state have concerned themselves with a vast range of
social legislation. The labour of a life-time would hardly suffice to
study~fhe various forms and activities of social politics in Aus-
tralia and New Zealand, in the Scandinavian states and in Bel-
gium, in France and in Germany, in Great Britain and in our own

1 Democratic England, pp. 5-7.


American Union. Yet the subject is of such interest and imme-
diate importance to every student of comtemporary history and
politics — so portentous for the future — that its extent and com-
plexity should not stagger us ; there is but an increased need
of a dispassionate and scientific review of the causes and results
of social politics.


It w^ould be difficult to find any country better adapted to an
introductory study of social politics than England, where, in a
nation of first-rate importance, the two requisite factors, to which
reference has been made, have been very much in evidence
throughout the nineteenth century. On the one hand, the revo-
lutionary spirit of democracy, since the time of Burke and Pitt,
has coursed through the veins of the old-time corporation govern-
ment of the country and has remade the body politic, until now
not a nation in the world can boast a more simple, direct, and
truly representative form of political democracy than the United
Kingdom. On the other ha nd, no country ha s been more, or
worse, affe cted by the Industrial Revolution ;_ no nation has had
graver industrial^ problems to fac e. It was in Great Britain that
the most important mechanical inventions were made; it was
British manufacturers who had a start of at least a score of
years over their continental rivals ; and to those islands through-
out the nineteenth century has clung that boasted preeminence
in industry and in trade. And anyone who takes the trouble to
peruse thousands of pages of parliamentary records and commis-
sion reports can begin to understand at what tremendous cost
that industrial supremacy has been secured and upheld — a cost
of veritable millions of human lives and of the physical and
spiritual degradation of other millions.^ The most serious social
questions have confronted England's political democracy!

1 Cf., in addition to the various Factory Commission and Poor Law Commission
Reports, Charles Booth, Life and Labour of the People in London, and Seebohm
Rowntree, Poverty : A Study of Town Life.


Nor would it be easy to find a country better fitted than
England to illustrate the elements of opposition to such a social-
ising tendency, for it must not be supposed that democracy has
been evolved in the United Kingdom suddenly, or without a
struggle, or that the entire English nation have at any time thor-
oughly understood the social problem or been over-anxious to
cope with it. The interested conservative classes have always
had their many apologists, whether of the obscurantist type who
seek to justify opposition to change by reference to the mysterious
workings of a Divine Providence, or of the so-called scientific turn
who aim to clothe existent inequality and injustice in the language
of the economic schools. In fact, many clergymen and other
ethical teachers, and political economists with their laissez-faire
theories, and lawyers and judges with their juristic explanations
of the Englishman's right to freedom of contract, all contributed
support, directly or indirectly, throughout the greater part of the
nineteenth century, to that compact conservatism which, in the
name of law and order and security, or of sound economic doc-
trine, or even of God, checked the growth of the social democracy
and- prevented the application of its remedies.'^

The whole problem has been rendered especially difficult in the
United Kingdom by reason of an established church and a landed
aristocracy, both of which have been naturally bent upon the pres-
ervation of the status quo. They have enjoyed the prestige which
belongs to ruling classes, and not only have they declined to see
advantage in a change which might molest their own abundant
wealth and large estates, but they have succeeded in inculcating
in many others a similar attitude of mind. The Return which Lord
Derby asked for in 1872, as a result of a criticism by John Stuart
Mill, incomplete and inaccurate as it was, showed certainly that
in that day 2250 persons owned nearly half the enclosed land of
England and Wales, 1700 owned nine tenths of Scotland, and

1 Cf. A. V. Dicey, Lectures on the Relation between Law and Public Opinion in
England during the Nineteenth Century (1905).


1942 owned two thirds of Ireland. From the same Return we
learn that 28 dukes held estates to the amount of nearly 4,000,000
acres, t,;^ marquises 1,500,000 acres, 194 earls 5,862,000 acres,
and 270 viscounts and barons 3,785,000 acres. Since 1872,
the number of landowners has considerably increased, but not to
such an extent as materially to alter the fact that, over against an

Online LibraryCarlton Joseph Huntley HayesBritish social politics; materials illustrating contemporary state action for the solution of social problems → online text (page 1 of 49)