§ Lord Hatherton
said, that he was desired by the committee appointed by their Lordships to inquire into the subject of trafficking on railways and canals on Sundays, to present to the House the report which they had caused to be drawn up. The committee had received a great deal of evidence on the subject. They had examined parties connected with all the different lines of communication between the Thames and the Mersey. They had examined the owners, servants, and many of the carriers on those lines, and they had only abstained from entering into an examination of the boatmen as a class, because their numerous petitions to that and the other House of Parliament sufficiently indicated their opinions on the subject. The committee were unanimously of opinion, that the evidence taken presented the strongest possible case for legislative interference. The social and moral interests of the country required either, that some prohibitory law should be enacted, or that power should be given to companies to exercise a discretion as to certain hours during which Sunday travelling on those lines of communication should be stopped. If the Government did not take up the subject he would himself early next Session present a bill to their Lordships for the purpose of investing companies with permissive powers.
The Marquess of Normanby
bore testimony to the unanimity of opinion which prevailed on this subject in the committee, and expressed a hope, that next Session their views might be carried into effect.
§ Report laid on the Table.