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Why parliament failed to control hours of work

This extract is from the report of a meeting published in the Manchester Courier in 1833.  The meeting was held to discuss the need for a Ten Hours Bill.  Here, an "ultra-reformer", Mr. Condy, explains why even the reformed House of Commons failed to bring in legislation controlling hours of work.

He must do their political enemies the justice to say, that under the most rigorous and stern Tory government, they had, by appealing to the humanity of the nation, obtained one or two Bills to alleviate infant suffering.  Let them never forget that the late Sir Robert Peel, who had made his fortune by the system, had had the good sense and the humanity to be satisfied that some alleviation was necessary, and he had set about effecting it, with the consent of the most arbitrary government this country ever saw. - Well, they had got the reform bill, and filled the house with men who were said to have "got a stake in the country".  And what was that stake?  Why, it amounted to this: they say - "Unless we have the power of slaughtering myriads of children our stake in the country will wither!"  So this (continued Mr. Condy) is their stake in the country, is it?  May God forgive me for my share in helping to fill that house with men who, in order to maintain their stake in the country, decree that children shall perish!  If I live, I will do my best to recompense those poor children for the evil I have done them. - (Hear! hear!).

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Last modified 4 March, 2016

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