HC Deb 09 May 1865 vol 179 cc72-3

MR. AYRTON moved for a Select Committee to inquire into the operation of the Act, for the regulation and inspection of Mines, and the allegations of the petitions presented to the House upon the subject from the Miners of Great Britain. He said, that as there was no opposition to the Motion it would not be necessary for him to trouble the House with any observations. It had been said that the Committee had been moved for rather late. That, however, was not his fault or that of the petitioners, and it would be the duty of the Committee to proceed as rapidly as possible to make up for time which had been lost. He concluded by presenting petitions from 10,000 miners, in addition to those already presented.


said, that the notice had been worded so as to be vague in its terms; he had, therefore, suggested the terms which the hon. Member had now adopted. A great many petitions had been presented from miners, complaining of what they conceived to be some defects in the administration of the Act for the Regulation and Inspection of Mines. As that Act had been in operation for some years, it was a fit subject for inquiry, though he doubted whether a Committee could now conclude its labours in time to make a Report during the present Session, If the hon. Member thought it right to take the Committee under these circumstances, there would be no objection.


said, he thought a Royal Commission, which would have been able to visit localities and look personally into the matter, would have afforded a more effectual means of inquiry that a Select Committee. At the same time, he thought it would be very dangerous for the House to resist the demand made by so many persons engaged in the trade, and if no better result should arise from the inquiry than a proof that the claims of these persons were not overlooked, the time occupied in the investigation would not have been lost.


said, he was not aware that a Royal Commission had been asked for. He had understood that a Committee was what it was wished to obtain.


said, he wanted to know whether inquiry were to be limited to coal mines, or to extend to different metalliferous mines, such as those in Cornwall?


said, the Act mentioned only referred to coal and iron stone mines, and the petitions were limited in the same way.


said, it was to be regretted that there was so little time left forgoing into the question. He agreed with the bon. Baronet opposite (Sir James Fergusson) that a Royal Commission would have afforded a more satisfactory means of inquiry than a Select Committee. The case made out by the working miners was so strong, that it was impossible for the House to resist the inquiry. He hoped the Committee would sufficiently appreciate the strong feeling that existed on the part of these men, to determine that something should be done. It was very desirable that they should, if possible, make their Report this Session; but if that could not be done, they might recommend the Government to appoint a Royal Commission.

Motion agreed to.

Select Committee appointed, "to inquire into the operation of the Act for the regulation and inspection of Mines, and into the complaints contained in Petitions from Miners in Great Britain with reference thereto, which have been presented to the House during the present Session."—(Mr. Ayrton.)

And on May 29, Committee nominated as follows:—Mr. AYRTON, Mr. LIDDELL, Mr. NEATE, Mr. GREENALL, MR. LAWSON, Mr. ARTHUR MILLS, Mr. KINNAIRD, Mr. FRANCTS SHARP POWELL, Mr. JACKSON, Colonel DUNNE, Mr. CLIVE, Mr. FER-RAND, Mr. DUSSEY VIVIAN, Lord ROBERT CECIL, and Mr. BRUCE:—Power to send for persons, papers, and records; Five to be the quorum.

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