HC Deb 22 February 1838 vol 41 cc39-40
Mr. Plumptre

rose for leave to bring in a bill for the suppression of trading on the Lord's Day, commonly called Sunday. The subject had been so frequently before the House he should not trouble it by entering into any details although he was prepared to do so if it were desired.

Mr. W. Duncombe

seconded the motion, and said that the general voice of the country demanded some measure of this kind, which he hoped would be passed before the session closed.

Mr. Hall

wished to know whether the bill which the hon. Member proposed to bring in was specifically confined to trading; and he gave notice that if it extended to interfere with the recreations and amusements of the people, which in large towns particularly were so essential to the happiness and health of the community, he should give the bill his most decided opposition.

Mr. P. Howard

hoped that the bill would be adapted to the present state of society, and not attempt unnecessarily to interfere with the liberty of the subject.

Captain Pechell

said, that before he could consent to the introduction of the bill he wished distinctly to know whether it would interfere in any way with the fisheries or the fish-market. He also wished to know whether there would be any interference with the sailors on the sailing and arrival of her Majesty's ships? If these questions were answered to his satisfaction, he should have no objection to the circulation of the bill through the country.

Sir G. Strickland

thought it extremely desirable, that the hon. Gentleman should be allowed to bring in his bill without having every Member putting questions with reference to the particular interest with which he happened to be connected.

Mr. O'Connell

felt called on to say, as a matter of justice, that in no country was the Sabbath more decently observed than in England. If there were any trading not justified by charity or necessity, it would be well to prevent it; but in any attempts at legislation they ought not to calumniate this country by suggesting any thing against their due observance of the Sabbath.

Mr. Chisholm

reminded the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, that so far from the inhabitants of this country considering it a calumny to impute to them a desire to legislate with regard to the Sabbath, they proved their wish to do so by the numerous petitions presented on this subject.

Mr. Warburton

said, that if they were to legislate on this subject they ought to do so in an impartial spirit. The rich could go to the country on Sundays to see their friends without hiring and conveyance, having their own carriages to convey them. But if trading were altogether prevented on the Sabbath they would shut out from the middling and poorer classes an opportunity of taking part in those amusements which were absolutely necessary to their health. The bill of Sir A. Agnew was partial in its nature and deserved to fail. He had no objection to allow the hon. Gentleman to bring in his bill, and give him an opportunity of explaining his intentions.

Leave given.