HC Deb 03 March 1823 vol 8 cc365-7
Mr. Peter Moore

moved for leave to bring in a bill "to amend the laws against the Combination of Workmen."

Mr. Maxwell,

in seconding the motion, returned thanks to the hon. member for taking up the case of the poor manufacturer and artisan. It was needless to comment upon a law which bound the employed, and left the employer free as air; and which gave protection to wealth and power, by withdrawing it from poverty and weakness. If the administration would assist in repealing laws which were effective only on the feeble, they would do more for their own credit, for the satisfaction of the people, and for the good of the community, than they had done during the two last parliaments.

Mr. Huskisson

said, the subject which the hon. gentleman proposed to bring under the consideration of the House, was a very important one, and much deliberation would be necessary before any gentleman could pledge himself to support such a measure. He trusted that when the hon. member should have brought in the bill in as perfect a state as possible, he would postpone it for a convenient period, in order to afford the House an opportunity of duly considering its provisions.

Mr. Secretary Peel

could not see why the hon. member should not have entered into some detailed statement of the measure which he intended to bring forward.

Mr. P. Moore

said, he had no objection to gratify the right hon. secretary with a longer speech. His measure would embrace three objects; first, to bring back a great number of eminent artificers from the continent; secondly, to effect a better distribution of the profits of labour between the employers and the employed; and thirdly, to facilitate the means of recovering debts and deciding suits between artificers and their employers. He had been under the necessity of wading through no fewer than 28 acts of parliament in order to arrive at a correct view of this subject; but he trusted he should be able to condense the matter very much when he made his statement to the House. He wished no person to be committed by any previous pledge; for he desired no support which should not be founded on the merits of the bill.

Leave was given to bring in the bill.