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LyneThey are finally issued Bill for Disfranchisement of Sudbury carried in the House of Commons, but afterwards droppedBill of Lord J. Russell for the prevention of Bribery at Elections.

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THILE measures involving in conjunction with the highest
the conflict of party

views civilization in the world, whole and the excitement of party feela sections of the people sunk in the ings were engrossing the attention lowest moral and intellectual barof the Legislature and of the pub- barism. In the midst of the relic mind, a subject of deep import- finements of the nineteenth cenance and painful interest was pre- tury, in the heart of a Christian sented to the notice of the House and enlightened community, and of Commons, by a Member whose with all the channels for the exgenerous exertions on behalf of a posure of oppression and abuses suffering but neglected class of the which our political system affords, community had, on former occa it appears hard to realize as truth sions, been attended with honour the picture of children consigned able success. The condition of by their parents almost from the children employed in Factories bad cradle to perpetual labour, at an been within a recent period the employment entailingon them presubject of a public investigation, the mature adolescence, disease, and result of which was the discovery, misery, and amid scenes which en. that mis-management and merce surea moral degradation even worse nary cruelty had gradually built than the physical suffering which up a system which was distorting accompanies it. Still less, if posand crippling the rising generation sible, would the ear of modern reof our most important districts. finement have been inclined to A law was passed to prevent the credit tales, now too well estacontinuance of that evil. It was blished, of women compelled to then alleged that the condition of work like beasts of burthen in children in other employments was

noisome caves where the sun never even worse, and the benevolent enters, surrounded by an atmo. exertions of Lord Ashley procured sphere of vice and pollution which the appointment of Commissioners can hardly be depicted with defor Inquiry into the Employment cency, and under circumstances of of Children. They examined into coarse and loathsome exposure to the state of young persons in one which savage life scarcely affords branch of employment-mines and a parallel. The details of this collieries; and the course of their frightful system will best appear inquiries brought to light more from the selections which we shall than the sufferings of children presently furnish from the Comalone, for they found the case of missioners' Report, and which Lord the women in many places no less Ashley cited in his able introducpitiable. The frequent juxtaposi- tion to his motion in the House of tion of enormous wealth with the Commons on the 7th of June. lowest degree of destitution and He began with complimenting want has often been remarked as the late Government on the readia characteristic feature of society ness with which they had apin England; the Report of the pointed the Commission, and on Commissioners referred to exposed their choice of Commissioners;

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and then proceeded to prove the Staffordshire, Shropshire, War necessity of immediate legislation wickshire, Leicestershire, Derby, by reference to the Report before shire,Cumberland, Durham, Norththe House. First, be quoted the umberland, Gloucestershire, or statements of the Report with re. Somersetsbire. In none of the spect to the ages of the children collieries in the coal-fields of Ireemployed :" In South Stafford- land was a single instance found of shire, Shropshire, Warwickshire, a female child or a female of any Leicestershire, and Cumberland, age being employed in any kind children begin to work at seven of work. I must observe," said years of age; about Halifax, Brad Lord Ashley, “that with respect ford, and Leeds, at six ; in Der- to that country, neither children byshire and South Durham, at of tender years nor females are emfive or six; in Lancashire, at five, ployed in underground operations. and near Oldham as early as four; I have often admired the geneand in some small collieries of the rosity of the Irish people, and I last neighbourhood, some children must say that if this is to be taken are brought to work in their bed as a specimen of their barbarism, gowns. Lord Ashley observed in I would not exchange it for all passing, that had it only been the the refinement and polish of the great coal-owners with whom they most civilized nations of the had to deal, the necessity for the globe." Bill would not have existed. In The nature of the localities in North Durham and Northumber, which the labourers wereemployext, land, many children are employed was the next point to which Lord at five or six, but not generally; Ashley directed the attention of that age is common in the East of the House :-"The health depends Scotland; in the West of Scot- much upon the ventilation and land, eight; in South Wales, four drainage of the places; and they is a very usual age; in South differ according to the depth of Gloucestershire, nine or younger; the seams of coal, which vary from in North Somersetshire, six or ten inches in some places to ten or seven. In the South of Ireland twenty feet in others. In South no children at all are employed. Staffordshire, for instance, says All the underground work, which Dr. Mitchell, the coal-beds are in the coal-mines of England, Scots sufficiently thick to allow abundland, and Wales, is done by young ance of room ; the mines are warm children, appears in Ireland to be and dry, and there is a supply of done by young persons between fresh air. The case is pretty much the ages of thirteen and eighteen." the same in Northumberland,Cum

He next adverted to the em. berland, and South Durham, with ployment of females : -" The some exceptions in the last place ; practice of employing females un, and in North Durham there are derground is universal in West some thin seams. The mines are Yorkshire and North Lancashire ; damp, and the water in them is it is common at Bradford and sometimes deep, in Warwickshire Leeds, in Lancashire, Cheshire, and Lancashire. In Derbyshire, and South Wales: general in the Black dainp very much abounds; East of Scotland, rare in the West ; the ventilation in general is exand no women are employed in ceedingly imperfect. • Henee fa.

tal explosions frequently take place: with their small carts in seams, in the work-people are distressed by many cases not exceeding twentythe quantity of carbonic acid gas two to twenty-eight inches in which almost everywhere abounds, height. The whole of these places, and of which they make great it appears, are in a most deplorable complaint, and the pits are so hot state as to ventilation, and the as to add greatly to the fatigue of drainage is quite as bad as the the labour. While efficient ven ventilation. The evidence of their tilation,' the Report adds, 'is ne- sufferings, as given by the young glected, less attention is paid to people and the old colliers themdrainage. Some pits are dry and selves. is absolutely hideous. In comfortable. Many are so wet North Wales, the main-roads are that the people have to work all low and narrow, the air foul, day over their shoes in water, at the places of work dusty, dark, the same time that the water is and damp, and the ventilation constantly dripping from the roof: most imperfect. In South Wales, in other pits, instead of dripping, in many pits, the ventilation is it constantly rains, as they term it; wholly neglected ; and the Report so that in a short time after they complains of the quantity of carcommence the labour of the day bonic acid

gas,

which produces the their clothes are drenched ; and in most injurious effects, though not this state, their feet also in water, actually bad enough to prevent the they work all day. The children people from working. This, in. especially (and in general the deed, is the general result of the younger the age the more pain- Keport of the Commissioner for fully this unfavourable state of the that district. With respect to the place of work is felt) complain mines in Glamorganshire and Pembitterly of this.' It must be borne brokeshire, he states the ventilain mind that it is in this district tion to be most imperfect, and that the regular hours of labour productive of a manifest tendency are not less than fourteen or six to shorten life, as well as to abridge teen a day. In the West Riding the number of years of useful laof Yorkshire, it appears that there bour on the part of the work. are very few collieries where the people." main road exceeds a yard in height, After these statements he proand in some it does not exceed ceeded to describe the nature of twenty-six or twenty-eight inches; the employment practised in these nay, in some it is even as little as localities :-"Now, it appears that twenty-two inches in height; so the practice prevails to a lamentthat in such places the youngest able extent of making young perchild cannot pass along without sons and children of a tender age great pain, and in the most con draw loads by means of the girdle strained posture. In East Scots and chain. This practice prevails land, where the side-roads do not generally in Shropshire, in Derexceed from twenty-two to twen- byshire,' in the West Riding of ty-eight inches in height, the Yorkshire, in Lancashire, in Cheworking places are sometimes 100 shire, in the East of Scotland, in and 200 yards distant from the North and South Wales, and in main-road; so that females have South Gloucestershire. The child, to crawl backwards and forwards it appears, has a girdle bound round

its waist, to which is attached a I should have found human nature chain, which passes under the legs so degraded. Mr. Holroyd and Mr. and is attached to the cart. The Brook, a surgeon, confessed, that child is obliged to pass on all-fours, although living within a few miles, and the chain passes under what, they could not have believed that therefore, in that posture, might such a system of unchristian cruelty be called the hind-legs; and thus could have existed.' Speaking of they have to pass through avenues one of the girls he says— She not so good as a common sewer, stood shivering before me from and oftentimes as much neglected. cold. The rug that hung about This kind of labour they have to her waist was as black as coal, and continue during several hours, in saturated with water, the dripa temperature described as per- pings of the roof.' • In a pit near fectly intolerable. By the testi- New Mills,' says the Sub-Commony of the people themselves it missioner, 'the chain, passing high appears that the labour is exceed- up between the legs of two girls, ingly severe ; that the girdle blis- bad worn large holes in their trouters their sides and causes great sers. Any sight more disgustingly pain. 'Sir,' says an old miner, 'I indecent or revolting can scarcely can only say what the mothers be imagined than these girls at say, it is barbarity-absolute bar- work. No brothel can beat it.' barity. Robert North says-I Sir," continued Lord Ashley, went into the pit at seven years of “it would be impossible to enlarge age. When I drew by the girdle upon all these points without going and chain, the skin was broken and too far into the evidence, from the blood ran down. If we said which the most abundant selections any thing, they would beat us. I might be made. I will say, huwhave seen many draw at six. They ever, that nothing can be more must do it, or be beat. They graphic and touching than the cannot straighten their backs during evidence of many of these poor the day. I have sometimes pulled girls. Insulted, oppressed, and till my hips have hurt me so that I even corrupted as they are, there have not known what to do with exists oftentimes, nevertheless, a myself.' In the West Riding, it simplicity and kindness in these appears, girls are almost univer

poor beings, which render tenfold sally employed as 'trappers' and more heart-rending that system hurriers,' in common with boys. which forces away these young The girls are of all ages, from people from the holier and purer seven to twenty-one. They com duties which Providence appoints monly work quite naked down to for them to put them to occupations the waist, and are dressed as far so unsuited, so harsh, so degrading. as they are dressed at all-in a It appears that they drag these loose pair of trousers. These are heavy weights, some 12,000 yards, seldom whole on either sex. In some 14,000 yards, and some many of the collieries, the adult 16,000 yards daily.' In the East colliers, whom these girls serve, of Scotland,' says the Commiswork perfectly naked. Near Hud- sioner, the persons employed in dersfield, the Sub-Commissioner coal-bearing are almost always examined a female child. He says girls and women. They carry coal - I could not have believed that on their backs on unrailed roads,

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with burdens varying from & cwt. home,' says another, 'taken to her to 3 cwt.-'a cruel slaving,' says bed, been delivered of a child, and the Sub-Commissioner, revolting gone to work again under the to humanity. I found a little gir), week. The oppression of coalonly six years old, carrying { cwt., bearing,' says E. Thompson, 'is and making regularly fourteen such as to injure women in afterlong journies a day. With a bur- life : and few exist whose legs are then varying from 1 cwt. to 1į not injured, or haunches, before cwt., the height ascended and the they are thirty years of age.' distance along the roads, added 'Jane Watson had two dead chil. together, exceeded in each journey dren ; thinks it was so from the the height of St. Paul's Cathe. oppressive work. “A vast number dral.' Thus we find child of of women have dead children, and six years old with a burthen of at false births, which is worse, as least {cwt., going fourteen times they are not as able to work after a day a journey equal in, distance the latter. I have always been to the height of St. Paul's Cathe- obliged to work below till forced dral ! The Commissioner goes to go home to bear the bairn ; and on 'And it not unfrequently so have all the other women. We happens that the tugs break, and return

as able--never the load falls upon ihose females longer than ten or twelve days; who are following; who are of many less, if they are much needed. course struck off the ladders. It is only horse-work, and ruins the However incredible it may be, yet women; it crushes their haunches, I have taken the evidence of fathers bends their ankles, and makes who have ruptured themselves by them old women at forty.” Anstraining to lift coal on their chil. other poor girl says

We are dren's backs.' But, if this is bad worse off than horses : they draw enough for the fathers of the chil on iron rails, and we on flat floors.' dren, the case is still worse for Another witness, a most excellent pregnant women: it is horrible old Scotchwoman, Isabel Hogg, for them.” Lord Ashley observed, says-From the great sore labour, “ that he had ever found these false births are frequent, and very people most accurate in their evi- dangerous. Collier-people suffer dence on their own condition. 'I much more than others. You must have a belt round my waist,' says just tell the Queen Victoria, that Betty Harris,' and a chain passing we are quiet, loyal subjects ; wobetween my legs, and I go on my men-people here don't mind work, hands and feet. The road is very but they object to horse-work ; steep; and we have to hold by and that she would have the blessa rope, and, where there is no rope, ings of all the Scotch coal-women by any thing we can catch hold of. if she would get them out of the It is very hard work for a woman. pits and send them to other labour.' The pit is very wet. I have seen Well, Sir, and I say so too,” added water up to my thighs. My clothes Lord Ashley. are wet through almost all day The next point related to the long. I have drawn till I have hours of work. " When work had the skin off me. The belt and people are in full employment,” chain is worse when we are in the says the Report, “the regular family way.' 'A woman has gone hours of work for children and

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