HC Deb 16 March 1847 vol 91 cc20-1

, after presenting a great number of petitions praying for the suppression of trading in seduction and prostitution, proceeded to move for leave to bring in a Bill for that object, and for the better protection of females. It was, perhaps, unnecessary for him to make any statement to the House until the first reading of the Bill; and he should have merely moved for leave to bring it in, but that he had received an intimation from some Members of the House that they would not suffer the Bill to be brought in unless he made a statement. In the present state of the business of the House, if it should be its pleasure that he should postpone his Motion, he should be prepared to do so; but he hoped the House would allow him a few moments to show what the Bill was, and to lay a sufficient ground for the House not to refuse to permit the introduction of the Bill. Some years ago a similar Bill had been introduced into the House of Lords, and passed all its stages there except the third reading, when it was withdrawn at the suggestion of the Minister of the day, the Duke of Wellington, who acknowledged that it was a subject which deserved the deepest consideration of the Government, which, he said, it should have; and he requested the right rev. Prelate who had charge of the Bill to withdraw it, for the purpose of undergoing such consideration. The Bill had emanated from an association which comprised all the bishops, many magistrates, the gentry, and others, who were of opinion that there existed a great wrong, for which there was no legal remedy. Upon that ground it was that he brought the subject before the House, and asked it to consider it, in compliance with the prayer of more than 2,000 petitioners. If it was the wish of the House and of the Government, be would not press the subject now, but he hoped he might be allowed to introduce the Bill, and that it might be read a first time.


said, he had informed the hon. Member that, so far as he was concerned, he should offer no opposition to the introduction of the Bill without any discussion. But as an adjourned debate upon an important subject stood for tonight, he had recommended the hon. Member not to press his Motion if it was likely to lead to discussion.


Am I to understand there is no objection to the introduction of the Bill?


had no hesitation in saying that he, for one, should object to the introduction of the Bill, which, however, he had no doubt that the hon. Member was pressing with the best feelings.

Motion postponed.