HC Deb 05 April 1853 vol 125 cc646-7

Order for Second Reading read.


in moving the Second Reading of this Bill, said that an Act had some years ago been passed on the subject of combinations either among workmen or their employers. By that Act it had been proposed that the two classes should be placed on precisely the same footing with respect to combinations. Some differences had recently taken place between a number of men and their masters; and some of the former having "got into trouble," as it was called, the Judges had decided differently on their cases, in con- sequence of a doubtful provision in the Act. The object of the present Bill was to remove the doubt. It was a purely declaratory measure; it contained but one clause; and it would leave the workmen and their employers subject to precisely the same legal conditions.


seconded the Motion. The late difference of opinion among the Judges required that the House should pass a declaratory Act.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be read a Second Time."


said, that he did not mean to object to the second reading of the Bill; but he should of course reserve to himself the right to decide hereafter whether it would really carry out the objects of the former Act, which it professed to explain. He was aware that doubts had arisen with respect to the construction of the word "molestation;" but he believed that everybody would be prepared to admit that it would be exceedingly wrong to alter the existing Act in such a manner as to permit that kind of molestation which, without any act of violence, would enable workmen by means of a system of intimidation, which was perfectly well understood among them, to prevent members of their class, in spite of their own wish, from continuing at their employment. He thought it would be necessary to see whether or not the Bill then before the House would be attended with that effect; but of course there could be no objection to the general purport of the measure.

Bill read 2°.

The House adjourned at Ten o'clock.