HC Deb 30 June 1831 vol 4 cc501-2
Mr. Hobhouse

presented several Petitions from the Working People and Overlookers of the. Cotton Factories in various parts of the country, praying that the House would pass a Bill for restricting the hours of labour for children in the Cotton Factories

Mr. Protheroe

wished to take that opportunity of asking his hon. friend a question, respecting another Bill with which his hon. friend's name was connected, and which was considered of very great importance by his (Mr. Protheroe's) constituents. He meant the Bill for regulating the election of Select Vestries—a bill which he considered to be of inferior importance only to the Parliamentary Reform Bill itself. He wished to know what was to be the fate of that bill, and whether his hon. friend meant to introduce it into Parliament?

Mr. Hobhouse

observed, that in reply to the question of his hon. friend, he could only say, that the Bill, in the state in which it was left by the last Parliament, was not his Bill. It had been "changed at nurse." It was certainly most unlike what it had been. The last Committee exercised their wisdom upon it till they made it a production of their own. He should, therefore, feel it his duty to abandon that Bill, and if he brought in another, it certainly would not be such as had been recommended by the last Committee. He should like to ask his hon. friend a question, and that was, whether his hon. friend thought he could for any purpose of utility bring forward such a Bill at this period? If he was answered that he could, he should be willing to make the attempt, after consulting his constituents and other persons interested in the subject, and if he did so he should expect his hon. friend's support.

Mr. Maberly

said, he wished to call the attention of the House, to the subject of the petitions presented by the hon. member for Westminster, relating to the cotton factories. The effect of such a measure as the petitioners prayed for, would be, to throw numbers of children out of employment. He wished to caution the hon. Member that a Bill of the kind he proposed to introduce, would have the effect of raising the price of cotton articles, and would be an evil instead of a benefit.

Mr. Hobhouse

said, that that had not been the effect of other bills which had been passed upon the same subject with a view to diminish the hours of labour, and the Bill he now proposed had had the sanction of a Committee, of which he believed, the hon. Member had been a member. Both the operatives and master-manufacturcis, whom he had consulted to a great extent, were of opinion it would prove beneficial; and he, therefore, would give notice that he would introduce the Bill on the 4th of July.