• The toil of the females has hitherto been considered the characteristic of savage life; but we, in the height of our refinement, impose on the wives and daughters of England a burden from which, at least during pregnancy, they would be exempted even in slave-holding States, and among the Indians of America.

• But every consideration sinks to nothing compared with that which springs from the contemplation of the moral mischiefs this system engenders and sustains. You are poisoning the very sources of order and happiness and virtue; you are tearing up, root and branch, all the relations of families to each other; you are annulling, as it were, the institution of domestic life, decreed by Providence himself, the wisest and kindest of earthly ordinances, the mainstay of social peace and virtue, and therein of national security. There is a time to be born, and a time to die this we readily concede; but is there not also a time to live, to live to every conjugal and parental duty ?—this we seem as stiffly to deny; and yet the very same breath we talk of the value of education, and the necessity of moral and religious training. Sir, it is all in vain, there is no national, no private system, that can supersede the influence of the parental precept and parental example—they are ordained to exercise an unlimited power over the years of childhood ; and, amidst all their imperfections, are accompanied with a blessing. Whose experience is so confined that it does not extend to a knowledge and an appreciation of the maternal influence over every grade and department of society ? It matters not whether it be prince or peasant, all that is best, all that is lasting in the character of a man, he has learnt at his mother's knees. Search the records, examine the opening years of those who have been distinguished for ability and virtue, and you will ascribe, with but few exceptions, the early culture of their minds, and above all, the first discipline of the heart, to the intelligence and affection of the mother, or at least of some pious woman, who, with the self-denial and tenderness of her sex, has entered, as a substitute, on the sacred office. No, Sir, these sources of mischief must be dried up ; every public consideration demands such an issue; the health of the females; their conjugal and parental duties; the comfort of their homes ; the decency of their lives ; the rights of their husbands; the peace of society; and the laws of God; and, until a vote shall have been given this night, which God avert, I never will believe that there can be found in this house one individual man who will deliberately and conscientiously inflict, on the women of England, such a burthen of insufferable toil.

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We ask but a slight relaxation of toil, a time to live, and a time to die; a time for those comforts that sweeten life, and a time for those duties that adorn it ;-and, therefore, with a fervent prayer to Almighty God that it may please him to turn the hearts of all who hear me to thoughts of justice and of mercy, I now finally commit the issue to the judgment and humanity of parliament.'

Lord Ashley's speech on the employment of children in the Calico print works, on the 18th of February, 1845, is of the same awakening character. As to the actual condition of large masses in the humbler classes of society, he states

• In the year 1840, I had the honour to move in this House for a commission to inquire into the employment of children in the various departments of labour. That commission made a very voluminous report; and in a summary of that report, from which I shall read a few extracts, they stated what was the condition of many thousands, I may almost say hundreds of thousands, of children. I do not here mean those employed in the factories, but those employed in the various trades and branches of labour in the realm, and who are compelled to commence labour at very tender years. There are instances of their beginning to work at the early age of 3 and 4 years ; more between 5 and 6; and in many instances, regular employment begins from 7 to 8, and in most instances, between 8 and 9. With respect to the employment of girls, the report states, that “A large proportion of the children and young persons employed in this branch of trade are girls, the proportion in Lancashire being upwards of one-third of the whole number under 13.” It further appears from the report that the young girls work as long each day as the adults, which sometimes extends to 16, 17, and even 18 hours consecutively. Schools are wholly out of the reach of these poor children, in consequence of the early age at which they are set to work; and the result is, that the greatest demoralization prevails in those districts. This is the summary presented by the commissioners, and adduced from a close survey of large numbers employed in various trades in the realm.

Of all these cruel and pernicious employments-pernicious, I mean, in the extent to which they are carried on-only one has been brought under the consideration of the House. I had the honour of proposing to the House the removal of females from employment in collieries; but of all the trades and manufactures that have been enquired into, that is the only one with respect to which any measure of relief has been afforded, or any motion made. In all other respects nothing has been done,-or, rather, everything has been left undone ; not one hour has been struck off from their term of labour,-not one hour added to their instruction.'

Speaking of their moral degradation, he says

• The commissioners state, and this is their general report, that “ the evidence collected in the Lancashire district tends to show that the children employed in this occupation are excluded from the opportunities of education ; that this necessarily contributes to the growth of an ignorant and vicious population ; that the facility of obtaining early employment for children in print fields, empties the day-schools ; that parents without hesitation sacrifice the future welfare of their children through life, for the immediate advantage or gratification obtained by the pittance derived from the child's earnings."

• The Central Board states that “ The girls are prevented, by their early removal from hom and the day-schools to be employed in labour, from learning needle-work, and from acquiring those habits of cleanliness, neatness, and order, without which they cannot when they grow up to womanhood economise their husband's earnings, or give to their homes any degree of comfortand this general want of the qualifications of a housewife in the women of this class is stated by clergymen, teachers, medical men, employers, and other witnesses, to be one great and universally prevailing cause of distress and crime among the working classes."


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The predicted deplorable character of the last days, without natural affection, (2 Tim. iii. 3.) is thus confirmed :

6 Mr. Kennedy says: One of the chief points for observation is the carelessness of the parents as to the future welfare of their offspring, as shown by depriving them of the advantages of education. Tbis they invariably do without reference to their ample means of supporting them.” Commissioners were sent to examine all the various mining and manufacturing districts; and one of them, Mr. Fellowes, (Derbyshire,) states the sole wish of parents examined by him to be to make all they could of their children at as early an age as possible, without regarding their future welfare.

• Mr. Grainger says: “ many of the parents are utterly indifferent to the moral and physical welfare of their offspring; and it would be a serious error to mistake this indifference for desperation arising from distress and misery.'

“It must, I think, be evident to every one, that unless parents themselves receive the benefit of education, they will be indifferent to the education of their progeny; and yet we are bringing up a race of parents in an entirely demoralized condition, and who will be ignorant of the great advantages which must ever accompany religious improvement; the present generation of these children is utterly neglected physically and morally ; and we find, in consequence, that such a complication of evils has been suffered to accumulate, that even the powers of this House will scarcely be able to extricate the population from the evils that surround them.'

Lord Ashley distinctly shews that the repeal of the Corn Laws would leave these children just as it found them. After having stated his proposals to be, the total abolition of night work for all females, and all under thirteen years of age, from October next; and that after October 1846, none under thirteen years of age should be allowed to work more than eight hours a day for six days in the week, or more than twelve hours a day for three alternate days in the week, with a provision for schooling: he thus closes his truly Christian appeal to the House :

“Sir, it has been said to me more than once, “Where will you stop ?” I reply, without hesitation, “ Nowhere, so long as any portion of this mighty evil remains to be removed.” I confess that it is my desire and ambition, to bring all the labouring children of this empire within the reach of the opportunities of education; within the sphere (if they will profit by the offer) of happy and useful citizens. I am ready, so far as my services are of any value, to devote what little I have of energy, and all the remainder of my life, to the accomplishment of this end; the labour would be great, and the anxieties very heavy, but I fear neither the one nor the other ; I fear nothing but defeat. I should cheerfully undertake it all, had I but the hope of your countenance and support.

* And who will deny that it is a matter well worthy of the time and deliberations of this august assembly? Look to the increasing numbers of your people, look to the increasing facilities for mischief. I speak not of this class or that, manufacturing or agricultural, the principle is the same in both, though the danger may be less in the one than in the other the march of intellect, as it is called, bearing with it good and evil, while it multiplies the agents of mischief, leaves millions of the poorer sort only as fuel for the fire-crime is increasing in amount, and deepening in character and intensity : the valuable tables of criminal offenders prepared at the Home Office, attest the accuracy of this assertion -in 1843, “ thirteen persons were hung for murder.” Of these, says the preface,“ three were females for the murder of their husbands; two were males for the murder of their wives; one, for the murder of his child ; one, of his father.” And in a summary deduced from these tables, written by Mr. Jelinger Symons, and published in a most able article of the “ Law Magazine' for last December, it is stated, -—“Murders, and attempts to murder and maim, have increased 38 per cent. on the average of the last four years ; rapes, 57 per cent.; other horrid offences, 53 per cent. Arsons, which exhibit malice in its worst shape, have increased by 28 per cent. ; and if those of the present year were taken into account, the increase would be far greater.” The public journals confirm to the full this horrid statement; scarcely a week elapses but that the newspapers detail some crime that, in novelty and atrociousness, exceeds the imagination of mankind. I will not dwell on many cases ; of two only I will ask, whether the records

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