HC Deb 11 August 1875 vol 226 cc866-8

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [6th July], "That the Amendments made by the Lords to the Offences against the Person Bill be now taken into Consideration."

Question again proposed.

Debate resumed.

Question put, and agreed to.

Lords Amendments considered.


said, that one of the Amendments of the Lords was a purely technical one, and he should move to agree to it. As the Bill originally stood, the age at which protection was given to young girls was 14, but at the suggestion of the right hon. and learned Recorder of London 13 was inserted instead. The Lords, however, in consequence of some misunderstanding—he believed in reference to putting the Question—had struck out the 4th clause of the Bill, and thereby reduced the age to 12. Lord Lyttelton moved, in the Upper House, to restore the age of 14, but his Motion was negatived. Lord Redesdale then put the Question—" That Clause 4 stand part of the Bill," and said that "The Not Contents had it," and thus, to the surprise of many noble Lords, Clause 4 was struck out, rendering the Bill quite useless. He would move that the House should disagree with the Lords in this Amendment.


said, he thought that there was no misunderstanding whatever in connection with the decision in the Lords, and as the House had agreed to the Lords Amendments in every other Bill, he saw no reason why they should doubt their judgment on a legal and moral question of the character involved in Clause 4. He, therefore, hoped that their Amendment would be agreed to.


said, he was sorry, and he thought justly so, that the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Charley) had been somewhat hardly treated in connection with the Bill, because it had been many times down upon the Paper without there being a discussion upon it. As he (Mr. Charley) had said, the age originally was 14; many hon. Members wanted it to be 12; and a compromise was effected by inserting 13. That was an age which was very familiar from being mentioned in several statutes—as, for example, in the Factory Acts, the Elementary Education Act, as the age at which childhood ended; and the compromise having been come to with the general assent of the House, he did not think that because they agreed to some of their Lordships' wise Amendments they should agree to those which were unwise.

Motion agreed to.

Amendment agreed, to; one disagreed to.

Committee appointed, "to draw up Reasons to "be assigned to The Lords for disagreeing to the Amendment to which this House hath disagreed:"—Mr. CHARLEY, Mr. CAWLEY, Sir GEORGE BOWYER, Mr. MELLOR, Mr. WHIT-WELL, Mr. MARLING, Mr. DYKE, and Mr. ROWLAND WINN:—To withdraw immediately; Three to he the quorum.

Reasons for disagreeing to one of the Lords Amendments reported, and agreed to:—To he communicated to The Lords.