HL Deb 14 March 1850 vol 109 cc880-1

said, he had some petitions to present, signed by a large number of operatives in Rochdale, on the subject of factory labour. The fact was notorious that the Ten Hours Bill which had been passed two years ago, to restrain the labour of women and children, had not been effectually carried out in consequence of the relay system, and that the recent decision of the Court of Exchequer had helped very much to frustrate the law. As matters stood at present the object of the Legislature had not been carried out, and the time which it was intended should be given to women and children for domestic duties and recreation had not been afforded them. He was not one of those who had been very sanguine with respect to the success of the Ten Hours Bill, but he was bound to say that the measure had, during the period of its operation, realised the hopes of its promoters, and had worked well for the operatives and for the employers. Under these circumstances it would be most lamentable if, by any technical construction of the Act, its excellent purposes should be frustrated. He was glad to hear that a Bill had been introduced into the other House directed to the subject; and though he would have preferred to see the matter taken up by the Government, still, as it was in the hands of a private individual, he hoped there would be a general desire, no matter what views might have been entertained with respect to the original Bill, that the purport of that Bill should not he frustrated by any technical informality. The persons who had signed the petitions presented by him, prayed that the House would support a Bill for restoring the original construction of the Factory Act, and he had only to add the expression of his anxious hope that such a Bill would pass.

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