HC Deb 07 December 1819 vol 41 cc815-6

Sir R. Peel moved for leave to bring in a Bill to amend the act passed last session, for the better regulation of Cotton Factories.— The object of the amendment was, when any accident by fire or otherwise took place in a factory, to allow the people thrown out of employment by such accident, to work by night, in such part of the works as were not destroyed, till the accident was made good. If this was not allowed, the worst consequences must arise, from letting loose on society a number of people without employment.

Lord A. Hamilton

observed, that a case had lately occurred in the county which he bad the honour to represent, which proved the necessity for the bill now moved for. Part of the factory of an individual well known to many members of that House, had lately been burnt down, and without an alteration in the law a number of persons would be thrown out of work altogether.

Mr. Philips

said, the bill now moved for was a complete proof of the absurdity of attempting to interfere between the employer and the labourer. This bill gave a sanction to the most disgraceful practice ever adopted in cotton factories, that of employing persons by night; and yet he did not see how the measure could be refused, with put depriving a number of people of work altogether.

Mr. Brougham

did not see how the present bill could be considered as a proof of the absurdity of the former measure. In a subject of such extent it was hardly possible to provide for every case that might occur, and accordingly the accident alluded to proved that there was an omission in the act; but that omission would now be supplied without delay.

Mr. Finlay

would have been more willing to vote for the repeal of the former act. His hon. and learned friend had talked of an omission—why it was full of omissions. The accident had happened to the person with whom the bill originated; but had it happened to a person less favourable to the measure, perhaps the hon. baronet would not have shown the same eagerness to supply the omission.

Leave was given to bring in the bill.