HC Deb 13 March 1862 vol 165 cc1487-9

Order for Second Reading read.


said, he wished to call attention to an objection in the Bill. As it stood, managers of the schools would be obliged to pay for the maintenance of the children to the extent to which the Government were at present responsible. He also wished to call the attention of the Government to the working of the Reformatory system, and to the fact that Justices of Assize were in the habit of sending to reformatories, to be there maintained at a certain expense, children who could scarcely be regarded as criminal. If the Government would give encouragement to Ragged and Industrial Schools, they would help to save great numbers of children from criminal and vagrant habits, and lessen the necessity for reformatories. By limiting the operation of the Act to two years, the Government had quite emasculated the measure, and placed reformatories in a worse position than before. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would either propose an" extension of the period during which the Act was to be operative, or would refrain from opposing the Motion of any independent Member to that effect.


said, that the Limitation Clause was quite unnecessary for the protection of the Treasury. This was given by the Act itself; because the Secretary of State could either refuse to certify schools, and so limit the number; or he might discharge the children, or reduce the allowance. This Bill would be useless, because, as the commitments were at various dates, the schools would have to be kept up for an ever-lessening number of children, reduced at last to ones. The Colonial Office had allowed the Barbadoes Industrial. Schools Act (a similar measure) without the Limitation Clause, and he trusted, therefore, that the Government would consent to prolong the operation of the Act of 1861.


said, he was willing to own that the limitation of the operation of the Act to two years would prove completely destructive to the efficiency of the schools, because commitments could not be Carried out during that period. An extension of the terms of the measure was therefore necessary, but as it was only an experiment, it had been deemed advisable to prolong it only for another year, when Parliament would be better able to judge whether it was desirable to continue it for a series of years or at once to make it permanent. Nine schools had been certified under the Act, in addition to numerous others under the previous Act. He understood that the whole provisions of the measure would be operative in respect of children committed to these schools during the whole period of their sentences.


could not but remark upon the haste in which the clauses of the Bill had been framed. He thought it only reasonable that they ought to have a copy of the resolutions which bad been issued to the schools before they proceeded with the further stages of the Bill.


said, he would suggest that, before the next stage of the Bill, full opportunity should be given to the House for the mature consideration of its provisions.


said, he wished to give notice that, in Committee, he would move the repeal of the clause which limited the duration of the Act.

Bill read 2o, and committed for Thursday next.