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      On the subject of the Free Trade measures generally, the Speech continued:


      The vast development of the coal trade, which contributed so materially to our national prosperity, occasioned the employment of a large number of persons at high rates of wages. Upwards of 118,000 people were working in coal mines. In the county of Durham there were more persons thus employed under ground than in cultivating the surface. It was a kind of work at which women and children could earn money, and in some of the collieries their labour was made available to a very large extent. It may be supposed that this practice entailed upon the boys and girls so employed the most serious evils, physical and moral. When this state of things began to attract public attention, an extensive inquiry was instituted by the Children's Employment Commission, which prepared three reports, presented to Parliament in 1842. The Commissioners collected a large mass of evidence at the collieries which brought to light facts of the most astounding nature as to the cruelty and demoralisation connected with the employment of women and children in coal mines. It seemed almost incredible that such practices could have existed in a civilised country, and showed the extent to which the thirst for gain will carry men, under circumstances where they can count upon impunity, and evade the censure of public opinion. Lord Ashley took up the subject with his usual earnestness in all questions affecting the welfare of the working classes, and in the Session of 1842 he brought in a Bill founded upon the reports of the Commission. The statement of facts with which he introduced the measure excited the astonishment and indignation of the House, and greatly shocked the moral sense of the country. The nature of the employment in which the children were engaged was calculated to brutalise them in every sense. They were obliged to crawl along the low passages with barely room for their persons in that posture, each dragging a load of coals in a cart by means of a chain which was fastened to a girdle borne round the waist, the chain passing between the legs. This they dragged through a passage often not as good as a common sewer, in an atmosphere almost stifling. At this sort of work girls were employed as well as boys, and they commonly worked quite naked down to the waist, their only dress being a pair of loose trousers, and in this condition they were obliged to serve adult colliers who worked without any clothing at all. The grossest immorality was the natural consequence. In Scotland a subcommission found one little girl, six years of age, carrying an eight-stone weight, fourteen times a day, a journey equal in distance to the height of St. Paul's Cathedral. The Commissioner adds, "And it not unfrequently happens that the tugs break, and the load falls upon those females who are following, who are, of course, struck off the ladders. However incredible it may be, yet I have taken the evidence of fathers who have ruptured themselves by straining to lift coals on to their children's backs." The Bill of Lord Ashley was passed almost unanimously by the Commons. In the Lords it was subjected to considerable opposition, and some amendments were introduced. The amendments were adopted by the Commons, and on the 10th of August, 1842, the Act was passed "to prohibit the employment of women and girls in mines and collieries, to regulate the employment of boys, and to make other provisions relating to persons working therein." The Act prohibited the employment of any boys under ground in a colliery who were under the age of ten years.[See larger version]


      her peroration in mid-air.[Pg 231]In the letter just quoted, Rale seems to have done his best to rasp the temper of his New England correspondent. He boasts of his power over the Indians, who, as he declares, always do as he advises them. "Any treaty with the governor," he goes on to say, "and especially that of Arrowsick, is null and void if I do not approve it, for I give them so many reasons against it that they absolutely condemn what they have done." He says further that if they do not drive the English from the Kennebec, he will leave them, and that they will then lose both their lands and their souls; and he adds that, if necessary, he will tell them that they may make war.[246] Rale wrote also to Shute; and though the letter is lost, the governor's answer shows that it was sufficiently aggressive.

      and ate and ate until they went to her head. For two days she

      Time, the decline of the fur-trade, and the influence of the Canadian Church gradually diminished this erratic spirit, and at the same time impaired the qualities that were associated with it. The Canadian became a more stable colonist and a steadier farmer; but for forest journeyings and forest warfare he was scarcely his former self. At the middle of the eighteenth century we find complaints that the race of voyageurs is growing scarce. The taming process was most apparent in the central and lower parts of[Pg 348] the colony, such as the C?te de Beaupr and the opposite shore of the St. Lawrence, where the hands of the government and of the Church were strong; while at the head of the colony,that is, about Montreal and its neighborhood,which touched the primeval wilderness, an uncontrollable spirit of adventure still held its own. Here, at the beginning of the century, this spirit was as strong as it had ever been, and achieved a series of explorations and discoveries which revealed the plains of the Far West long before an Anglo-Saxon foot had pressed their soil.


      Dearest Daddy-Long-Legs,

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      [273] See the inventory, in Kidder, The Expeditions of Captain John Lovewell, 93, 94.

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      The debate was fixed for the 9th of February, on which day it was moved that the House should resolve itself into a committee on the propositions of the Government. Mr. P. Miles moved, as an amendment, that the House should go into committee on that day twelvemonth. The debate occupied twelve nights, in the course of which every species of vituperation was hurled at the Minister by the monopolist party. Mr. Beresford Hope denounced him as an apostate. Major Fitzmaurice thought the farmers might as well die by the manly system of Mr. Cobden as by the mincemeal interference of the right hon. baronet. Another member compared the Minister to a counsel who, after taking a fee for advocating one side, took the other when the case came into court. Mr. Disraeli attacked with great vehemence and bitterness the Ministerial proposals, and pointed to the "sad spectacle" of the Minister surrounded by a majority who, while they gave him their votes, protested in their speeches against his policy. Lord George Bentinck, who, in the many years he had hitherto been in Parliament, had never before taken part in any debate of importance, surprised the House on the last night of the debate by delivering a long and elaborate speech against the measure, in which he charged the Minister with "swindling" and deceptiona speech which at once marked him out for one of the leaders of the new Opposition.

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      Your five gold pieces were a surprise! I'm not used to receiving


      alllittle