HL Deb 23 July 1860 vol 160 cc10-1

House in Committee (according to Order).

Clause 1 agreed to.

Clause 2.


said, he thought certain alterations were necessary in Clause 2. The principal object of the Bill was to afford protection and security to persons employed in mines, and it enacted that children under twelve years of age were not to be employed in mines; but, then, certain exceptions were made in the case of children between ten and twelve years of age, who have certificates as to education and school attendance; and a proviso was added by which it was endeavoured to secure the continuance of the education by the employers of this infant labour; but care must be taken that these enactments did not defeat their own object. The education test applied only to children employed in mines and collieries, and as they worked only at unskilled labour, it might be fairly argued that the education test should be applied to children employed in skilled labour. The parents also were not debarred from sending their children to other kinds of unskilled labour, and therefore they would in preference send them to those kinds of labour in reference to which there was no education test. This difficulty was felt in the other House of Parliament, and Mr. Adderley brought in a Bill extending this principle of the education test to all kinds of labour; but that Bill was rejected on the Motion for the second reading by a large majority. He did not object to the educational test being applied in reference to mines, but he thought that the application of that test in the way proposed in this clause would be productive of inconvenience. He should therefore move the omission of certain words from the second part of the clause.


said, it was clearly desirable that children under twelve years of age should receive a certain amount of education, and that in order to make it effective it must be continuous. To secure that, it was necessary that the clause should be compulsory. He was, however, willing to modify the clause, if by so doing he could render it more practicable.


acquiesced in the principle that they should insist upon the test that young people employed in mines should attain a certain amount of education; but he would propose that the children so employed should receive a certificate of their having made certain acquisitions in elementary knowledge, or else that they should continue to receive instruction during the time they were employed.

Clause amended and agreed to. Further Amendments made. The Report thereof to be received on Thursday next.

House adjourned, at Eight o'clock, till To-morrow, half-past Ten o'clock.