HC Deb 06 March 1843 vol 67 cc306-7

On the question being again put,

Mr. Ferrand

wished to put a question to the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Home Department; but, before doing so, he would, in consequence of what had fallen from the right hon. Baronet, take that opportunity of stating, that he had himself delivered at half-past 12 o'clock, the note he had addressed to the right hon. Baronet, intimating his intention of putting a question as to the erection of a treadmill in the workhouse at Halifax. The letter was, therefore, delivered three hours and a half before the right hon. Baronet came down to the House. The House was aware that a cotton-spinner in Yorkshire had been convicted of monstrous cruelty to his workpeople; and about three weeks ago he moved for some documents, for the purpose of showing that the board of guardians of Skipton had entered into an arrangement with this cotton-spinner to supply him with hands from the union workhouse. The right hon. Baronet then stated that the Poor law Commissioners were not acquainted with the circumstances of the case. The report of the factory inspectors had since been laid on the Table of the House, and any hon. Member who perused that report must be horror-struck at the manner in which the man to whom he referred had treated his hands. It appeared, that in May, 1842, this man was supplied with about twenty hands out of the Skipton workhouse. Three of them were cripples, almost unable to walk, and they were taken away in a cart. Three or four of them were orphans, who bad no protectors. He wished to ask whether, after the statements which he had made on a former occasion, the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Home Department had thought it his duty to institute any inquiry as to the truth of those statements, and, if so, what had been the result?

Sir J. Graham

said, that in consequence of the report to which the hon. Gentleman had referred, and in consequence of a return as to a conviction made in conformity with the motion of another hon. Member, he had suggested to the Poor-law Commissioners the propriety of instituting an inquiry on the subject, and that inquiry was not yet concluded.