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Child Labour In the Textile Industry In the Early Nineteenth Century.

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Introduction

CHILD LABOUR IN THE TEXTILE INDUSTRY IN THE EARLY NINETEENTH CENTURY In article C the use of language and style indicate its origins as an official document in many ways. In the title it states that it is an 'act', this is a term used for a legislative law that has been passed by parliamentary. Further confirmation of this can be found by the use of the words 'regulation', (control by rule) and 'enacted', (a law), and in the final sentence it states that this is 'law'. The style of writing is Old English and very formal this also indicates that it is an official document. It is addressed to the 'Masters' who were the owners of the cotton mills and factories and informed, them that they would be 'fined' if they broke the 'law'. In 1819, the date of the article, it would only have been the government that would have had the power to enforce such a regulation and punishment for non-compliance, confirming that this document would have originated from an official source. Each of the sources in A and B provide different views and perspectives on children working in factories. The extracts were taken from evidence given before a Select Committee in 1816 and a debate in the House of Commons on the Factory Bill in 1818. ...read more.

Middle

He informed the Select Committee than unless there was 'legislative provision' he had no intention of reducing the number of hours worked by children in his cotton-spinning factory. Mr. Phillips agreed that a reduction of hours was not required, as shorter hours-worked in smaller 'often ill-ventilated' factories were more detrimental to children's health than the longer hours worked in the larger factories. In contrast Robert Owen was so concerned with the long hours that he took voluntary measures to reduce the number of working hours for children in his mills. The Factory Act of 1819 provided a solution to some of the issues and concerns associated with the use of child labour in textile manufacturing. It put into place some legislative measures for the protection of children and introduced fines for those owners who were not prepared to implement them. The issue of age was partially addressed, it became illegal for children under the age of nine to work 'in any description of work for the spinning of cotton'. Sir Robert Peel Senior and Robert Owen had both expressed concern for the health and well being of children aged eight and nine years who worked in the factories and mills. Robert Owen was so strong in his belief that he did not employ any child until they reached ten years of age. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the House of Commons debate other issues, other than those concerned with children's welfare were given. Lord Lascelles said that any legislative measures taken would interfere with free labour and Mr. Finlay warned against interfering with the factories who were manufacturers of 'vital importance', employing large quantities of people. This may have forced the Government to make a compromise to ensure that the health and safety of children working in the factories improved whilst minimizing the disruption to the textile industry. Some improvements were made for the protection of children in textile manufacturing. The reduction in the accepted age of a child worker, the number of hours worked and compulsory food breaks were a step in the right direction. However these improvements did not provide an effective solution to the problem of child labour in the 19th century, as many issues essential to the well being of children were not addressed. These included a safe working environment that protected the children from danger and provided them with necessary sanitary provisions. Time off for holidays, with out requiring to pay back this time and proprietors' often dictatorship attitudes and ill treatment of children. Therefore 'The Factory Act of 1819' only provided a starting point for tackling the problems associated with child labour, effective long-term solutions would only be resolved with further extensive legislation. ...read more.

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