presented Petitions from Glasgow and Manchester, signed by many Merchants and Manufacturers, and several thousand inhabitants connected with the Cotton Trade, in favour of the Cotton Factories Bill. The Glasgow petition prayed, that Scotland might be included in the provisions of the Cotton Factories Apprentices Bill. He had also received many communications to the same effect, from the same place, from Dundee, and other parts of Scotland, and the result of the whole was, after consulting with several Members of that House, that he had determined not to exclude Scotland from the provisions of the Bill. The arguments, that it would be unfair to the English manufacturers to place them under restrictions from which the Scotch were exempt, seemed to him so very forcible, that he was induced to adopt this course. It should also be remembered, that Scotland was included in all bills, which had been passed for regulating the hours of labour in Cotton Factories.
begged to inquire if the Bill was the same as that which passed through a Committee during the last Session, except that its provisions extended to Scotland?
replied, that the Bill introduced last Session, did include Scotland; he had since been doubtful on the subject, but had now determined to include Scotland, and the present Bill was, therefore, precisely the same as the former.
said, it was the bounden duty of the Legislature to protect and cherish the persons employed in producing the enormous wealth derived from their industry in cotton factories. He, therefore, 559 felt highly gratified that such a measure was introduced, and that its provisions extended to all parts of the empire.
had several petitions from operatives employed in worsted mills, the machinery of which was worked by a stream of water, and they prayed for liberty to work at all hours, to take advantage of the stream. They were of opinion, that children suffered no injury by working at night in these mills, and the Bill would have the effect of turning many persons out of employment; they therefore prayed, that factories in such circumstances should be exempt from its operation.
felt great satisfaction that the operatives employed in one factory only had petitioned against the Bill. It was absurd to say, it was as healthy for children to work by night as by day. There was a clause in the Bill which permitted factories worked by water power, and without the aid of steam, to be carried on at night by relays of hands.
§ Mr. H. Ross
assured the House, that the Bill was very unpopular in Scotland, where it was feared the consequence of it would be, to stop the working of many mills, and deprive many persons of employment.
§ Mr. George Dawson
hoped no representation would persuade the hon. member for Westminster to exclude any part of the kingdom from the operation of the Bill. Humanity was a general cause. It had long been a prevailing opinion, that children had been over-worked in factories, and that it was absolutely necessary to adopt some measure for their relief.
§ Mr. H. Ross
had no desire to treat children with inhumanity, and did not object to regulate the hours of labour in cotton factories, but the labour in woollen and flax factories was healthy, and required no such regulation.
fully concurred in the opinion, that any measure of this sort should be general, and apply to the whole country.
§ Petitions to lie on the Table, and to be printed.