HC Deb 15 May 1835 vol 27 cc1128-9
Mr. William Miles

presented a Petition from Bath, praying that in the Great Western Railway Bill a clause might be introduced prohibiting Sunday travelling on it. The hon. Member supported the petition, and gave notice of his intention to move a clause to that effect.

Mr. Potter

said, this was a most absurd petition. The subscribers to it might as well try to suppress Sunday eating. Besides, if such a prohibition were too rigidly enforced, people might be prevented from going to Church on Sundays.

Mr. Roebuck

said, that the petition did not express the sentiments of the people of Bath. Of the subscribers to this preposterous petition the first nineteen were clergymen of the Church of England.

Mr. Sinclair

observed, that the extraordinary and lamentable thing was, that such a petition should be necessary.

Sir Oswald Mosley

saw nothing either extraordinary or ridiculous in the petition. All that the parties wanted was to secure to the labourers on the rail-road the same opportunity for enjoying the holy rest of the Sabbath which other poor persons enjoyed.

Mr. Plumptre

supported the petition. He was acquainted with a rail-way which passed near a town and the noise on it was extremely great.

Mr. Harvey

said, that Acts of Parliament were not the most effective possible method of impressing the people with a moral tone of feeling. Example would do a great deal more towards bringing about so desirable a result than anything else, and of this there was unfortunately but too little. The other day, when at a country church, he saw a Bishop come to preach a charity sermon in a splendid coach, drawn by horses, the brass on whose harness was in much greater quantity than was contained in the pockets of all the poor people who were standing round. There was not much in this of the primitive simplicity of the Apostles, who taught the early gospel. Parliamentary morality would never be found to answer.

Mr. Hardy

said, the object of the petitioners was to put an end to the disgraceful system which now prevaile of making people work at the engines on Sundays. It was most unjust that these poor people should alone of their class be debarred from the holy rest of the Sabbath.

The Attorney General

deprecated all such discussions on private petitions.

Mr. Philip Howard

said, that as only three men were employed at these engines, it might be very possible so to arrange the journeys as to enable them to have time to attend to divine service.

Petition laid on the Table.

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