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duced the most frightful abuses. Mr. Homer, writing in March, 1837, stated, that from the great imperfection of the act in all that related to the determination of the age of the children, it was impossible for the inspectors to check the most palpable frauds. He was fully persuaded that one half of the children now working under a surgeon's certificate that they were thirteen years old were, in fact, not more than twelve, and many not more than eleven. Mr. Horner added, that " until the defects inherent in this part of the law were remedied, the object of the law would, to a great extent, be defeated." Yet the opinion of Mr. Horner, a man of great ability and experience, was treated with supreme contempt. He thought it would have been more becoming if the noble Lord, fortified by this opinion, had called fbr additional powers for the protection of the children, or had at least introduced into the bill brought in during the present session, provisions for increasing the amount of the penalties leviable, and for preventing interested magistrates from sitting on the Bench. That bill had been laid aside, he believed, ou pretence of the indisposition of the Under-Secretary for the Home Department; but the House had been sitting for eight months, and during all the time, from November till the 7th of May, which was the day fixed for the second reading, that hon. Gentleman was in his place, and perfectly able to attend to the progress of the measure. The excuse of illness, therefore, would not do, and it was besides inadmissible on another ground, for it was not to be tolerated that the passing of a useful measure should be impeded by the illness of any functionary, however efficiently he might discharge his duty. Thus had a great measure, closely affecting the temporal and eternal welfare of so vast a portion of the population, been set aside and treated like a turnpike bill. But the noble Lord might be assured that the people of this country had too much humanity, and that he who had humbly undertaken the subject, was too strongly determined to obtain justice, to allow the matter to rest in its present state. The interest which this question excited was not confined to England; it had extended to France, where it had been discussed in the Chamber of Deputies,, and had engaged the eloquent pens of some of the ablest writers of the country, Mr. Sis

mondi and others, who had not disdained to support the cause of the helpless innocents for whom he pleaded. He had received within the last fortnight a communication from France, requesting him to join in a general society to wipe out this blot from the civilization of Christian Europe, in the propriety of which he heartily concurred. He had hoped that this country would have been the first to set the example of such an association, and he felt ashamed that another country, possessing advantages so much inferior should have anticipated it in setting on foot a general scheme for the amelioration of the condition of infant labourers. This was an evil, that was daily on the increase, and was yet unremedied, though one-fifth part of the time the House had given to the settlement of the question or negro slavery, would have been sufficient to provide a remedy. When that House in its wisdom and mercy, decided that forty-five hours in a week was a term of labour long enough for an adult negro, he thought it would not have been unbecoming that spirit of lenity if they had considered whether sixty-nine hours a-week were not too many for the children of the British empire. In the appeal he had now made he had asked nothing unreasonable, he had merely asked for an affirmation of a principle they had already recognized. He wanted them to decide whether they would amend, or repeal, or enforce the Act now in existence; but if they would do none of these things, if they continued idly indifferent, and obstinately shut their eyes to this great and growing evil, if they were careless of the growth of an immense population, plunged in ignorance and vice, which neither feared God nor regarded man, then he warned them, that they must be prepared for the very worst result, that could befall a nation. Then would that great and terrible denunciation pronounced by a prophet of old, have a second fulfilment:—" The spoiler shall come upon every city, and no city shall escape; the valley also shall perish, and the plain shall be destroyed, as the Lord hath spoken." The noble Lord concluded by moving a resolution—" That this House deeply regrets, that the law affecting the regulation of the labour of children in factories, having been found imperfect and ineffective to the purpose for which it was passed, has been suffered

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duced the most frightful abuses. Mr. Homer, writing in March, 1837, stated, that from the great imperfection of the in all that related to the determination of the age of the children, it was impossible for the inspectors to check the most palpable frauds. He was fully persuaded that one half of the children now working under a surgeon's certificate that they were thirteen years old were, in fact, not more than twelve, and many not more than eleven. Mr. Horner added, that " until the defects inherent in this part of the law were remedied, the object of the law would, to a great extent, be defeated." Yet the opinion of Mr. Horner, a man of great ability and experience, was treated with supreme contempt. He thought it would have been more becoming if the noble Lord, fortified by this opinion, had called for additional powers for the protection of the children, or hail at least introduced into the bill brought in during the present session, provisions for increasing the amount of the penalties leviable, and for preventing interested magistrates from sitting on the Bench. That bill had been laid aside, he believed, on pretence of the indisposition of the Under-Secretary for the Home Department; but the House had been sitting for eight months, and

Her till fixed tleble

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moudi and others, who had not disdained to support the cause of the helpless innocents for whom he pleaded. He had received within the last fortnight a communication from France, requesting him to join in a general society to wipe out this blot from the civilization of Christian Europe, in the propriety of which he heartily concurred. He had hoped that this country would have been the first to set the example of such an association, and he felt ashamed that another country, possessing advantages so much inferior should have anticipated it in setting on foot a general scheme for the amelioration of the condition of infant labourers. This was an evil, that was daily on the increase, and was yet unremedied, though one-fifth part of the time the House had given to the settlement of the question of negro slavery, would have been sufficient to provide a remedy. When that House in its wisdom and mercy, decided that forty-five hours in a week was a term of labour long enough for an adult negro, he thought it would not have been unbecoming that spirit of lenity if they had considered whether sixty-nine hours a-week were not too many for the children of the British empire. In the appeal he had now made he had asked nothing unreasonable, he had msrely asked for an affirmation of a principle they had already recognized. He wanted them to decide whether amend, or repeal, or enforce in existence; but if they ne of these things, if they indifferent, and obstinately to this great and growing re careless of the growth of Julation, plunged in igno■ which neither feared God Han, then he warned them, H; be prepared for the very pat could befall a nation.

great and terrible denunheed by a prophet of old, H fulfilment:—" The spoiler Hfcon every city, and no city HF the valley also shall perish, Hvn shall be destroyed, as the Hjbken." The noble Lord conHnoving a resolution—"That Hf deeply regrets, that the law ^Be regulation of the labour of ^^HH factories, having bete found H^^k and ineffective to the pur

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that it would be dangerous to throw the onus of educating the children on the parents, instead of those who employed those parents. With respect to what took place out of doors on this subject in the course of the year 1834, he was only informed from Mr. Rickard's reports; but from those reports it appeared, that within seven months of the completion of the Act of that year, such was its nature that it could not possibly be carried into execution. Now, he believed that might be traced to the interference of others than the House of Commons. He believed, that the shape in which that Act passed was Tery different from that in which it left that House in the first instance ; especially, and most materially, in so much of it as admitted magistrates to sit to adjudicate in cases wherein they were personally concerned. There were other points besides this, and on the whole he was quite ready to admit, that there were many parts of the act which required amendment. The reports of the inspectors of factories since 1834 were all to this effect—that the law required amendment in order to adapt it to carry out the intention of the House of Commons. This he did not deny; but he did deny, that Government had not done their best to carry it into operation as far as was possible, and he would assert that the act had been improving in its operation to a very considerable extent, and that as far as from its nature it could be carried into effect it was carried into effect. Then the noble Lord went on to state cases which had arisen in the various districts under the four inspectors, as they were reported in returns made, he believed, in consequence of the motion of the hon. Member for Salford. The noble Lord said, that in the district of Mr. Stuart, there were no convictions of offenders against the law at all; but it was but fair to that Gentleman, and to the noble Secretary of State for the Home Department, to state why that return was a nil return.

was, that while that district was r. Horner, the whole number of convictions under this Act which occurred in it was only eight; and when Mr. Stuart succeeded to him, he did not find that district in confusion from disobedience to the law, for the millowners of it were perfectly willing to obey found, that there wer of the law within occasional one

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Now, the House ought to know what was the ground on which the noble Lord, and also the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, founded their assertions that the law had not been fully carried into effect. The noble Lord and the hon. and learned Member gathered this from the evidence taken before the Combination Committee. Now, in the first place, there were examined before that Committee three master manufacturers of Glasgow, men of great respectability, and one of them, Mr. Charles Todd, perhaps the most eminent manufacturer and the most upright man in Glasgow. Well, these three gentlemen were examined by the Committee, but not a single question was asked them as to the operation of the Factory Act: But immediately afterwards three operatives were summoned, and then questions were put to them by the noble Lord and other hon. Members of the Committee, with a view to investigate the operation of that Act, and from the answers of these men the House would see with how much correctness the noble Lord and the hon. and learned Member had drawn the conclusion that the Act was not fully carried into effect. Angus Campbell, one of the operatives, was asked by Mr. O'Connell with respect to the operation of the present factory law on the spinning mills of Glasgow, " Is it your opinion that the law is honestly worked out by not taking in children under nine, or do you think there is any fraud V His answer was, "I must say distinctly that the operative cottonspinner is necessitated to overlook the law, in order to keep his machine moving, by taking young children in below thirteen for twelve hours a-day or below nine for eight hours a-day." Then he was asked by the noble Lord, "To your knowledge, is the law set at defiance?" Answer. —*' It was a matter of necessity." These were the grounds on which the noble Lord and the hon. and learned Member made their assertions, and such evidence as this was taken in proof that the Factory Act was generally violated. But what were the grounds on which the noble Lord had spoken of the violation of the law with respect to age? Why, that one operative having two children, one above, and the other a little below thirteen, he had taken the one a little below the age, and put it to work in the factory as being above thirteen. But this was only one case, and he did not blame the inspector for that;

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