45. The earliest ages at which Children begin to work in the coal-mines of the United Kingdom differ materially in different districts, and in the same district in different mines. In almost all the districts there is some discrepancy in the statements of different classes of witnesses as to this point. With very few exceptions, the coal owners, the coal viewers, the under-ground stewards, the contractors, or, as they are called in some districts, " the butties, " and the agents and managers, represent the ages of the Children, when they first begin to work, to be more advanced than the Children and Young Persons themselves, than many of the adult workpeople, and than the medical practitioners, the schoolmasters, the clergymen, and the magistrates. The truth can be ascertained only by a comparison with each other of the statements of these different classes of witnesses; and in order that this comparison may be readily made, we proceed to cite examples of the statements given by each of these classes of witnesses in the several districts, and, whenever it can be done, in the words of the witnesses themselves.
46. It is common in this district for Children to begin to work in the pits when they are seven years of age, very common when they are between seven and eight, and general when they are nine.
Richard Spooner Cooper, Esq., surgeon, states, that "he has been in practice at Bilston for 10 years; is the medical attendant. to about. twenty-six clubs, having amongst them upwards of 2000 members, all of whom, with the exception of about 100, are connected with the collieries and iron-works. Some children go to work in the collieries as early as seven or eight; many have met with accidents before they are eight. In the very small collieries, where a man without capital is endeavouring to get on, and cannot afford the proper means of working his pit, little children are sent into holes in the mines with baskets to get coals to bring to the foot of the shaft, and they drag them along on their hands and knees"
(Dr. Mitchell, Evidence, No. 3: App. Pt. I.,p.62, 5,23). Henry Duignan, superintendent-registrar and clerk of the Walsall Union, says, "Some of the sons of the colliers themselves go down to the pit at that age (eight). No sooner are the children at the age of eight or nine but there is a demand for them" (ibid. No. 31:p.75, l.1).
47. The Sub-Commissioner states, that " the Returns obtained from the ministers of religion afford overwhelming evidence of the fact that Children in South Staffordshire are sent to work in the coal-field at the early age of seven or eight, and that some are even removed from school to be sent, into the mines still earlier." (Dr. Mitchell, Report, 61: App. Pt. I.,p.8.) In some collieries, however, although the Children may begin work at the hank, driving the horse which works the gin, as early as seven, yet they do not go down into the pit until they are nine. This statement is made by Mr. William. Hartell Baylis, agent of James Loxdale, Esq., who has been employed in mines for the last forty years, has been in the management of mines for thirty years, and is well acquainted with the habits of the mining people (Dr. Mitchell, Evidence, No. 7: App. Pt. I.,p.65, 1.9).
48. Throughout the pottery district the employment of the Children in the potteries prevents their being taken into the coal-mines while under thirteen years of age; but there are many boys under eighteen employed under ground (S. Scriven, Esq., Report, §§ 5, 9: App. Pt. II.,p.128). In the collieries near Cheadle, however, boys commence working under ground at ten years of age, or even younger (ibid. I., Evidence, No. 29:p.140, 1. 33; No. 52:p.141, 1.26).
49. There is evidence that some Children begin to work in the pits of the Coalbrook Dale district, as the chief coal-field of this country is called, as early as six years of age. One instance, indeed, came under the observation of the Sub-Commissioner, in which a Child two years younger, that is, four years of age, was regularly taken into the pit by his father. "This remarkable instance became known to me," says Dr. Mitchell, "when exploring the Hill's Lane Pit, belonging to the Madeley Wood Company; the ground-bailiff; two charter-masters (the persons who contract to work the mines), and a labouring collier accompanied me.
'I say, Jonas', said the ground-bailiff to one of the charter-plasters, 'there are very few Children working in this mine; I think we have none under ten or eleven'; The collier immediately said, 'Sir, my boy is only a little more than four.'
This was a very unseasonable interruption; and all that the ground-bailiff said was, "Well, I suppose that you take good care of him; you take him down and up when you go yourself" (Dr. Mitchell, Report, § 264: App. Pt. I.,p.33-4).
50. Mr. William Tranter, agent of the Coalbrook Dale Company, who was requested by Mr. Alfred Darby, one of the partners and managers, to give to the Sub-Commissioner full information, in reply to the questions put to him states, that in his capacity of agent to the company he has occasion to go down into the mines, both of coal and iron; that there are many Children in the mines; and that some are as young as about six, and they are of various ages up to manhood (Dr. Mitchell, Evidence, No. 41: App. Pt. I.,p.79, 1. 36).
51. This statement as to the very early age at which Children begin to work in this district is confirmed by Mr. Matthew Webb, a medical gentleman residing at Coal-pit Bank, whose evidence to the fact is given somewhat reluctantly, but whose expression is remarkable: " There are, "he says, " very few under six or seven who are employed to draw weights with a girdle round the body, and those only where the roof of the pit is so low for short distances as to prevent horses of the smallest size, or asses, from being employed" (ibid. No. 48:p.81, l.67). Another surgeon, who did not wish his name to be published, says, " Children go to the iron and coal works at as early an age as six; at all ages from six to ten" (ibid. No. 45:p.81, 1. 3).
52. It is added that " the lowness of the roof or thinness of the bed of coal, as stated by Mr. Webb, is no doubt the cause of employing boys instead of horses or asses, which otherwise would be more convenient and cheaper; that ht least two-thirds of all the beds of coal in the Coalbrook Dale district are of this thin description; that it cannot but be a matter of regret that any Children as young as six or seven should be so employed, and that nothing but long familiarity with the practice could reconcile the mind to the employment of Children of still higher age at such labour" (Dr. Mitchell, Report, § 267 App. Pt. I.,p.34).
53. There is evidence that some Children begin to work in the pits in this district at the same early age.
Mr. John Sommers, a surgeon residing at Bedworth, states that he has been in practice there for nineteen years; that he has had many patients among the colliers, having been surgeon to several of their clubs; that the boys go down to the pits, many at six years of age, many at seven, and at all ages; that they generally begin very young" (Dr. Mitchell, Evidence, No. 68: App. Pt. I.,p.107, l.24). And Thomas Arrott, a working collier, says, that "he first went clown to the mine at seven years of age, and that there are still at the bank boys of seven years of age" (ibid. No. 64:p.105, l.48).
54. On the other hand: Mr. Benjamin Stratton, agent to Charles Newdiaate, Esq., and manager of the coal-mines near Nuneaton, affirms, that - there are very few children in the mines under ten years of age, and that those few are such as are brought down by their fathers and relations" (ibid. No. 62:p.103, l.5).- Mr. Thomas Pearson, a butty in the colliery called the Bedworth Charity Colliery, states, that ,there are no boys employed in that part of the country under eight years of age, and that at the colliery at which he is employed there is one boy oil the bank eight years of age, whose work it is to carry picks to the blacksmith, but that the youngest boy in the pit is better than eleven years of age." (ibid. No. 63:p.105,". 23, 15).- Thomas Arrott, collier, says, "there are boys of seven or eight employed on the bank to carry picks to the blacksmith. There are none under ten in our pit; and there are very few employed at that age in this county, and cannot be so useful now since engines have been introduced" (ibid. No. 64:p.105, 1. 54).
55. The correctness of these representations is confirmed by the statement of the Sub-Commissioner, who says that " the number of children in the pits of the Warwickshire Coal-field in proportion to the men is small, as compared with other districts; and for this reason, that the coal is very hard, and comes in large masses, and is placed on the waggons in larger and weightier pieces than boys could manage" (Dr. Mitchell, Report, § 21: App. Pt. I.,p.91).
56 During the inspection of this district no instance was found of any Child being employed in under-ground work in any colliery under seven years of age. In some of the pits no Child is employed under ten years of age.
Mr. Stephen Evans, ground-bailiff to the Moira Collieries, belonging to the Marquess of Hastings, says, " Some boys go down into the pit as early as seven or eight, and at all ages after that" (Dr. Mitchell, Evidence, No. 75: App. Pt. I.,p."0, 1. 46). Mr. Michael Parker, ground-bailiff to the Snibson Collieries, says, "Children commence going clown into the pits at seven, and at all ages afterwards" (ibid. No. 77:p."2, l.59). Mr. Joseph Dooley, under-ground bailiff of the coal pit at Swadlincote, called Granville Colliery, says, " There is one boy as young as ten; he is the youngest" (ibid. No. 76:p."2, 1.7). In the Snibson Colliery, according to Mr. Charles Tandy, book-keeper, -The youngest child employed in the pit is ten years of age" (ibid. No. 79:p."3, 1.49). In the Whitwtck Colliery, according to Mr. Stenson, engineer and manager, " There are no boys under ten" (ibid. No. 80:p."4, l.5).
57. The proportion of Children and Young Persons to that of adult workpeople is also in this district remarkably small.The coal here is in very large masses; it is so heavy that Children are of no use in loading the waggons, and the seam of coal is so thick that there is everywhere ample room even for men: whence, says Mr. Stephen Evans, ground bailiff of the Moira Collieries, "it is more to our advantage to employ persons of greater strength than boys of ten, twelve, or thirteen usually possess." (lbid. No. 75:p."0, 1. 59.)
58. The Commissioners, in visiting the Moira Collieries, belonging to the Marquess of Hastings, accompanied by John Thomas Woodhouse, Esq., the mining engineer, who has the direction of them, were struck with the absence of Children, with the great muscular development of the "lads," and the extraordinary size and strength of the men; and they saw at once the correctness of the statements that Children and boys of ordinary strength cold be of no use in moving such immense blocks of coal as are here brought to the foot of the shaft.
59. The Sub-Commissioner for this district records several cases in which Children began to work in the mines at five and between five and six years of age.
Esther Ellis says, " She has two sons at work at Tupton, in North Wingfield parish; one, now fourteen, has worked for Mr. Chambers at Sibshelf since he was five years old" (7. M. Fellows, Esq., Evidence, No. 400: App., Pt. II.,p.348, 1. 4). William Ghent: "Is seven years old; is sure he has worked two years, or nearly, under Mr. Woodley and Mr. Jessop" (ibid. No. 195:p.315, 1.10). John Fisher, fifty-five years old, collier: " Has two sons clown the pit, one seven, the other eight. The one seven years old has worked three-quarters of a year, the other was a very little above five years old when he opened and shut the door" (ibid. No. 154:p.304, l.49). Samuel Freeman Pinxton, Pit No. 2, banksman: "He earned 31., at 3s. per week, before he wore breeches; he was not six years old. A boy ought not to be allowed to work in a pit before he is twelve, but parents will send them." Note by the Sub-Commissioner:- At this period the butty came and he would say no more (ibid. No. 300:p.331, l.27). Samuel Davis "Is six years old; has worked half a year" (ibid. No. 120:p.295, l.47).
60. Many Children begin-1;o work in the coal-pits in this district at six years of age. William Slater Is six years old; draws the empty corves with a hook" (ibid. No. 239p.327, l.56). Adam Widowson: "Is seven years old; has worked in a pit one year" (ibid. No. 140: p.300, l.44). Aram Richardson: " Is seven years old; works in the soft coal-pit; has done so for nearly a year" (ibid. No. 144:p.300, l.66). Joseph Cotton: "is seven years old; works for Mr. Woolley: has worked in pits more than half a year" (ibid. No. 276:p.327, l.45). Joseph Latun: " Is nine years old; has worked in Hutchby's Pit three years" (ibid.No.168:p.308, l.24). Mark Edwards, Coal Aston: " Is nine years old; has worked in pits above three years" (ibid. No. 448: p.354, l.5). John Peake: " Is nine years old; is sure he was only just six when he began to work" (ibid. No. 226:p.319, l.62). Joseph Robinson: "Is twelve years .old; has worked nearly six years" (ibid. No. 175:p.310, 1.22). John Bell: "Is twelve years old; has worked five or nearly six years" (ibid. No. 346:p.340, l.45). Levi Richards: " Is thirteen years of age; has worked in pits since he was six" (ibid. No. 167:p.308, 1. 8).
61. Among many others the following Children, of eight years old and upwards, state that they began work in the pits at seven years of age. George Bentley (No. 309). William Lees (No. 344). William Riley (No. 158). William Gascoign (No. 268). Richard Gascoign (No. 270). Stephen Gascoign (No. 307). Richard Haywood (No.. 351). William Orrall (No. 157), eleven years old, has worked in pits nearly four years. William Hopkins (No. 368). John Bradder (No. 385). Thomas Siddons (No. 213). Joseph Shooter (No. 299). John Gent (No. 194). George Gee (No. 445). Samuel Farnsworth (No. 337).
62. The numbers are comparatively few in this district who began work in the pits at a later age than eight.
WEST RIDING OF YORKSHIRE: SOUTHERN PART
63. In the large portion of the great West Riding Coal District, examined by J. C. Symons, Esq., Children begin to work in the pits at the same early ages.
Joseph Ellison, Esq., of Birkenshaw, near Birstall, says, "I have been practically acquainted with collieries nearly all my life. I know it as a fact that a collier now living has taken a child of his own, who was only three years old, into a pit to I hurry,' and when the child was exhausted it was carried home, stripped, and put to bed. This is a rare cccurrence, but I can prove it, if required, by undeniable evidence, to have been a fact" , (J. C. Symons, Fsq.,Evidence, No. 249: App. Pt. I.,p.288, ".1, 35).- Another witness, John lbbertson, aged forty-three, collier, examined at the same place, says, " I have been forty-five years in the pits. I knew a man, called Joseph Cawthrey, who sent. a child in at four years' old; and there are many who go to thrust behind at that time, and many go at five and six; but it is soon enough for them to go at nine or ten. The sooner they go in the sooner their constitutions is mashed up" (ibid. No. 267:p.292, ".28-34).
64. It is not uncommon, in this district, even for infants of five years old to be sent daily and regularly into the pits with the adult workers.
John Hobson, thirteen and a half years old, collier's boy, from the Sheffield Soap Pit, says, " I was five years old when I first went into the pit, and no older" (ibid. No. 8:p.228, l.22). Ebenezer Healey, aged 13, says, " I went into a pit to help before I was five years old; I used to thrust" (ibid. No. 284:p.295, l.38 ).- Alfred Lord, aged 14, examined at Mr. Joshua Smithson's colliery, Alverthorpe, says, " I hurry from the dip; it is hard enough; I should not like it to be much harder; I began to go at five years old" (ibid. No. 178:p.274, l.27). -Mr. William Carter, under-ground steward arid manager to Messrs. Micklethwaite and Company, says, " I should say children ought to begin at nine or ten years old; nine is early enough. I went in at five; but it was a sad let down to me in point of education" (ibid. No. 2.57:p.290, l.40).- Edward Ellis, Esq., surgeon, of Silkstone, says, "I have had twenty five years' professional experience among colliers. They [the children] go to the pits as early as five very frequently" (ibid. No. 99:p.248, ".17,21).- Thomas Rayner, Esq., surgeon, of Birstall, says, "I have had twenty-seven years' practice, and I know of no old colliers. Collier children are taken to the pits at five years of age, both boys and girls" (ibid. No. 268:p.292, ". 49, 51).- The Rev. Richard Morton, sheriff's chaplain, and curate of Dodworth, in the parish of Silkstone, says, " The parents get, their children into the pits as soon as they think they can do anything. I have been told that some have gone by the time they have been five years old" (ibid. No. 169:p.269, 1. 10).
65. The Evidence given by all classes of witnesses proves indubitably that it is very common in this district for Children to begin work in the pits at six years of age.
John Heely, aged eighteen, at Mr. Stancliffe's Day-Hole Pit, Mirfield, says, " I went to work before I was six; I am sure of this. I hurried with another" (J. C. Symons, Esq., Evidence, No. 271: App., Pt. I.,p.293, 1. 18).- Similar evidence is given by William Firth, between six and seven years old; by Mary Holmes, aged fourteen and a half years; and by Caroline Swallow, aged eight and a half years (ibid. Nos. 218, 283, and 292).- James Ibbetson, aged about twenty, collier at Mr. Harrison's pit, Gomersal, says, " There are three hurriers here in the pit; two are girls; they are my sisters; they hurry for me. The oldest is twelve and a half; the youngest is between eight and nine. She has been working, ever since she was six years old. They have both hurried together since she was six years old. Sometimes, when I have got my stint I come out, as I have done to-day, and leave them to fill and hurry" (Ibid, No. 263p.291, l.41). -Matthew Lindley, aged fifty-two, collier in Messrs. Day and Twibell's pit, Barnsley, " Children are sometimes brought to the pits at the age of six years, and are taken out of their beds at four o'clock, and between that and five, throughout, the year" (ibid. No. 109:p.250, l.5o).- Mr. John Lawton, surveyor and under-ground steward of Messrs. Travis and Horsfall's Colliery, Barnsley, " Has known children go into the pits at six years old" (ibid. No. 123:p.255, l.3).- Mr. William Pickard, general steward to Sir John Lister Kaye's Collieries, Denby Grange, " I have been a bottom-steward 44 years. We used trappers till lately, and they used to go and begin as early as six years old. The men will let the children go as soon as ever they are big enough to addle any wages" (ibid. No. 255:p.289, 1.29). Benjamin Mellor, forty-six years old, " I am underground steward to some of Mr. Clarke's pits, and I have the superintendence of above 90 collieries. I have known children go as early as six" (ibid. No. 101:p.248, 1.49). Mr. William Colling, under-ground steward to Messrs. Smith, at. Gildersome: "There are some children very fine and strong enough to come in at eight; others riot till nine. We have some that come at six" (ibid. No. 230:p.284, l.30). Joseph Ellison, Esq., of Birkinshaw, near Birstall: " They generally go to work as early as six years old" (ibid. No. 249:p.288, l.5). Henry Briggs, Esq., one of the proprietors of Messrs. Stansfield and Briggs's coal mines, Flockton: "Where they are much distressed, and there are large families, they will go as early as six or seven years old" (ibid. No. 171:p.272, l.59). Mr. Crooks, surgeon, Barnsley "The children commence working as early as the age of six" (ibid. No. 166:p.267, l.33). The Rev. Henry Watkins, vicar of Silkstone, and one of Her Majesty's Justices of the Peace: "The children go into the pits when about six years of age" (ibid.. No. 167:p.268, 1.3).- The Rev. Francis Maude, incumbent of High Hoyland, near Wentworth, "The boys begin to work between six and seven" (ibid. No. 168: p.268, l.43).
66. Several of the coal-owners themselves admit, with Mr. Henry ,Briggs, whose evidence has just been quoted, that it is not uncommon for Children to begin work in the pit at seven years of age.
John Twibell, Esq., coal-master, Barnsley, says, -My opinion is that young children ought not to be employed at all under ten years of age in coal-pits. We intend directing our attention to this point, with a view to its being a rule in our pit. I am aware that children are worked as young as seven years old in some collieries. I look on this as objectionable, both on the score of education and health" (ibid. No. "1:p.251, l.37). Mr. George 'Travis, coal master, of the firm of Travis and Horsfall, Barnsley, says, " I believe that children go as early as seven years old to work" (ibid. No. 84:p.243, L!,50). Mr. William Bedford, one of the proprietors of Gildersome, Morley, and Drighlington Collieries, says, " There are a deal of children go to the pits between seven and eight years old, and some younger" (ibid. No. 246p.286, l.55).
67. While the evidence is thus overwhelming, that in this district Children are to be found in the coal mines regularly at work at the ages of five, six, and seven, it is clear, from a careful perusal of the whole of the depositions, that this fact could never have been brought to light by the examination of the coal owners only. It is in general with extreme reluctance that this class of witnesses acknowledge that Children begin to work in the pits even as early as seven years of age. With the few exceptions which have been quoted, the evidence uniformly given by the coal-owners would indicate that they are ignorant of the extremely early ages at which Children may be found working in their mines. The same remark is applicable to the tenor of the evidence given by the under-ground stewards and other agents. Some portion of this discrepancy may arise from the different ages at which individuals in the same district permit Children to enter their pits; but witnesses belonging to both these classes almost all say that eight is the lowest age at which Children begin to work; and they further state that, although some Children may be found working at eight, yet in general they do not begin till nine, and that, in the few cases in which they are admitted into the pit at an earlier age, it is solely out of consideration for the poverty or misfortune of the parent. Several of these witnesses declare that there are no Children in their pits under ten or eleven years of age, and even that younger Children would be of no use to them.
Thus Thomas Wilson, Esq. of the Banks, Silkstone. owner of three collieries, says: "The children are first taken into the mine about the age of eight years" (ibid. No. 137:p.258, 1.17). Payne, Esq., Wadsley, coal-master, says: "The children are employed generally at nine years old in coal-pits, and sometimes at eight" (ibid. No. 2:p.226, 1.15). William Newbould, Esq., owner of Intake Colliery, says that " Children go into his pits to work at nine years of age" (ibid. No. 15: 1).229, 1.60). John Chambers, Esq., of the firm of Newton, Chambers, and Co., Thorncliffe Iron-works and Colliery, says: " The earliest age at which. children go to work in the pits is about nine, but they go more generally at ten" (ibid. No. 64:p.238, l.59).
68. Similar statements are made, among others, by the following underground stewards: William Wood: "The children begin to go about nine, and from nine to eleven" (ibid. No. 274p.293, 1.56). Benjamin Mellor: " The usual age would be nine or ten" (ibid. No. 101:p.248, 1.50). Joseph Cooper: " The youngest children taken into our pits are from ten to eleven years of age" (ibid. No. 48:p.236, l.7). Charles Hawcraft. We have no hurriers under twelve or thirteen years old, and no child at all much under eleven" (ibid. No. 98:p.247, l.47).
69. The statements thus positively made by the under-ground stewards may be strictly true, as far as regards the individual pits of which they have cognizance. On the other hand, with regard to the coal owners, it must be borne in mind that they seldom or never descend into the pits; that few of them have any personal knowledge, or take any superintendence whatever, of the workpeople; that, therefore, they may be wholly ignorant of the early ages at which Children are employed in their own mines, so that, when they snake such declarations as have been cited, they may state only what they really believe to be the truth, though the incorrectness of their evidence is indubitably established by other classes of witnesses.
BRADFORD AND LEEDS
70. In the vicinities of Bradford and Leeds, in which Mr. Wood made a brief investigation, Children begin to work in the Mines at the same early ages as in the Barnsley and Wakefield district.
William Tidswell, six years old, says: " Does not know what made him come into a pit; came in at five years old" (W. R. Wood, Esq., Evidence, No. 69: App., Part II.,p.h 30 l.41). Mr. Thomas Mackley, surgeon of4Wilsden, four miles from Bradford, states that " He himself knew a child employed in the coal-mines at the age of five years and ten months" (ibid. No. 61p.h 28, l.23). Thomas Foster, seven years old, says: "Went in at six years old" (ibid. No. 67:p.h30, 1.23). George Ackroyd, nine years old: ",Went into pit at six" (ibid. No. 54:p.h 25, l.43).
John Nuns, eleven years old: " Began at six years old" (ibid. No. 99:p.h 40, 1.59). William Pickett, twelve years old: " Went into pit at six years old" (ibid. No. 19:p.h 11, l.34). James Ellis, thirteen years old: - Began at six years old" (ibid. No. 100:p.h 41, l.7). Michael Ashley, Wilsden, fifteen years old:-,, Went in at six" (ibid. No. 75:p.h 32, 1.1). Sampson Hillam, sixteen years old: " Went into pit at six years old" (ibid. No. 37:p.h 18, l.38). Among others the following adults say they went into the pits at. six years of age:-John Laycock, William Barraclough, and William Ramsden (ibid. Nos. 25, 26, 94).
71. Many Children, colliers, and under-ground stewards, state that they began work at seven years of age: among others witnesses, Nos. 17, 55, 95, 27, 31, 3, 4, and 5. But, in general, in this district, as well as in the Barnsley and Wakefield district, the colliery-stewards and the coal-owners represent the usual age at which Children begin to work in the mines to be from eight years old and upwards.
Mr. Isaac Clayton, coal-master, Bradford, says, that "of the number of hands employed by them, better than 200, about one-half are boys; and that these are of all ages, from eight years old to sixteen" (ibid. No. 48:p.h 23,25, 28). Mr. James Sharp, Bowling, says, that "children begin work in some cases at eight years old, and that they have boys at all ages, from eight to thirteen" (ibid. No. 36:p.h18, 1.30). Mr. Thomas William Embleton, agent and manager of the Middleton Colliery, near Leeds, says, that " children generally enter the mines at about nine years of age. I found the youngest in our employment did not begin work till he was eight and a half years old. As a general rule, we never take them till they are about nine years old, unless it be the child of a widow, or something of that sort. The youngest now in our employment is eight years and ten months old" (ibid. No. 79:p.h 34, l.10). Charles Wailes, bottom steward, Middleton Colliery, says, that " they very seldom take children into the pits till they are about nine years old; not unless we are solicited by widows, or something of that sort' (ibid. No. 50:p.h 34, l.65).
72. In this vicinity, which was assigned to the inquiries of Mr. Striven, the Children begin work in the coal mines at the same early ages. One case is recorded in which a Child was regularly taken into the pit by his father at three years of age. " It was made to follow him to the workings, there to hold the candle, and when exhausted with fatigue was cradled upon the coals until his return at night. It is added that out of thirty Children at present at work in six pits in this district seventeen are between five and nine years of age " (S. S. Striven, Esq., Report, § 48: App., Pt. II.,p.65.)
Joseph Gledhill, banksman, aged forty-eight: " I work now as a banksman.- I have three sons living; one of them went into the pit with me when he was three years old, and commenced working regularly as a hurrier when he was between five and six; that was at Flockton. Another began between four and five, another between five and six." (S. S..scriven, Esq., Evidence, No. 40: App. Pt. II.,p.112, l.36.)
73. It is added, " I overtook upon the road a little gang of hurriers returning to their homes; many of them were very young, and amongst them one of five years of age " (S. S. Striven, Esq., Report, § 6: App. Pt. II.,p.57).
William Ellis, aged nine, examined in the Byerley Company's Garden Pit, says: `1 I have hurried ever since I was five years old" (S. S. Striven, Esq., Evidence, No. 50: App., Pt. II.p.116, 1. 6).- Hiram Stephenson, aged fifteen, examined in the Powell Pit, says: " I have been hurrier ten years and more; I began when I was five years, for Ben Man, in both coal and ironstone pits" (ibid. No. 53: 1,.116, l.56).- Eli Mitchell (a boy), examined in Mr. James Wilcox's Colliery, Parkbottom, says: " I began to work between five and six, thrusting coals, and then hurried" (]bid. No. 4:p.101, l.49). William Dyson, aged fourteen, says am a hurrier for Thomas Ditchforth. I have been employed ever since I was six years old" (ibid. No. 7:p.102, l.50).- Sally Fletcher, aged eight: " I have worked here short of two years" (ibid. No. 15:p.105, l.22).- Luke Brook, aged forty-nine: " I am one of the stewards of the Low Moor Company's Colliery. The pits that come under my superintendence are the Taylor, Stone Park, Highfield Raws Pits, &c. In these are employed a large number of lads and men. The ages of the lads vary from six to eighteen" (ibid. No. 84:p.125, l.42~-Mr. Isaac Clayton, aged fifty-one, agent and principal: " I have known children admitted as hurriers as young as six; 'tis rare to find them younger; I consider that too young; eight would be a better age" (ibid. No. 49:p."5, 1. 46).- John Marsden, aged eight and a halt, examined in the Low Moor Company's Wikelane Pit I have been a hurrier nearly two years in this pit" (ibid. No. 42:p."3, 1.10).- John Sidebottom, aged seven, examined in the Byerley Company's Roundhill Pit: " I have hurried seven months; I hurry for father" (ibid. No. 61:p."9, l.31).- -. Squire Hunt, aged fourteen, examined in the Wilson Pit: " I hurry corves for my father; I began when I was about six and a half years old" (ibid. No. 55.p."7, l.26).- James Mitchell, aged twelve, examined in the Bins Bottom Colliery: " 1 hurry corves for Jim Witley; have hurried five years well%niah, and thrust, about six months afore that" (ibid. No. 2:p.101, l.21).
74. Among others, the following witnesses, nine years of age and upwards, state that they began work at seven years of age.
William Jagger, No. 6; -John Dyson, No. 8; John Sutcliff, No. 31; John Bell, No. 34; Joswell Wells, No. 35; Saul Hanson, No. 56;. Joseph Butterfield, No. 62; Jonathan Turner. No. 67.
Mr. James Sharp, steward of Messrs. John Sturge and Company's Collieries, Bowling " I am the steward of this company; have been so employed fifteen years; we have now working altogether fifty-four pits. The youngest child employed (Charles Pearson) is seven years and one month. VI have made the returns required of us by the Government, and in doing so have examined personally every child, and pledge myself that it has been honestly -and faithfully done. There is only one child under eight years old; that I consider early enough; their strength is not equal to the duty before that; that is very young." (ibid. No. 43:p."3,". 31, 35, 57.)
LANCASHIRE AND CHESHIRE
75. One case is recorded in which a Child began to work in a coal pit in this district soon after he was four years of age. A. B. at "Mr. Roscoe's, Rochdale, states, that " he is eleven years old; that he has been six years in the pits, and that he began to go when lie was little more than four years old" (J. l. Kennedy, Esq., Evidence, No. 5: App. Pt. II.,p.201, 1. 40). And many cases are recorded in which Children began to work in the pits when they were between five and six years of age, and at six.
Henry Jones, at Messrs. Clegg's, Pauldin-wood, near Oldham, says, "I am going- on six years old, and am the youngest in the pit, excepting Jack Jones" (ibid. No. 64:p.226, l.35). Mr. Roscoe, Rochdale, proprietor of coal mine, says, " I believe that the great body of colliers have begun to work by the time they were five or six years old" (ibid. No. 2:p.200, 1. 52). William Cooper, aged seven years: " Has worked at Almond's coal-pits twelve months" (ibid. No. 55:p.224, l.21). John Wilde, at Messrs. Swire and Lee's, fourteen years old, says, " I began to work in the pit when I was six years old" (ibid. No. 14:p.207, l.63). William Wilde, at Messrs. Swire and Lee's, eighteen years old: " 1 went into the pit when I was six years old" (ibid. No. 17:p.208, l.44). James Yates, collier, fourteen years old: " Was about six years old when I first went, to work" (ibid. No. 57:p.224, 1.41). Mr. John Millington, superintendent: " The children, both boys and girls, generally begin at six years old, or from that to ten" (ibid. No. 6:p.202, l.8). Among others the following adults state that they began work in the pits at six years of age:-Mr. Roscoe, No. 2; Mr. Miller, No. 7; John Wright, No. 13; John Oldham, No. 22).
761. Among the Children who state that they began to work in the pits at seven years of age are the following: Ellen Taylor, No. 40; John Clarke, No. 44; A. B., No. 61; John, Jones, No. 66; Edward Cope, No. 70. Many adults state that they began to work in the pits at seven years of age. (ibid. Nos. 26,162, &c.)
77. The Sub-Commissioner, as the general result of his personal investigation, says: " Of the adult mining population of this district, I am convinced that a very large proportion have commenced work as early as the sixth or seventh year of age" (J. l.Kennedy, Esq., Report, § 3, App. Pt. II.,p.149.)
78. All the Collieries in this neighbourhood, on the south eastern verge of Lancashire, cases are recorded in which Children have been regularly taken into the pits to work at four, and between four and five, and several at five, and between five and six years of age.
Joseph Gott, aged fifty-three, Richard Barker, aged forty-six, the former an underlooker, and the last a labouring collier: "A great many goes to pit before they be fit to go. Richard Barker went into the pit at five years old himself, and has in the pits four sons, who all went in under six years of age" (J. Pletcher, Esq., Evidence, Nos. 13 and 14: App. Pt. II,p.850, 1. 29).
James Jones: Is going in thirteen; has been five years in the pit. Has thrutching for him his little brother, Henry Jones, who is going in six, and has been in the pit three months" (ibid. No. 25:p.853, l.35). John Jones: " Is seven years old; has been in the pit a year or more" (ibid. No. 23:p.853, l.10).
79. It is very common in this district for Children to be sent into the pits when they are between six and seven years of age, and between seven and eight.
John Gordon, aged thirty-four: " Is a miner in the employment of Mr. Abraham Lees, at Stoneywell-lane, near Oldham, and commenced underground work under Messrs. Jones at seven years of age. Thinks there is little difference in the ages at which lads have begun in his childhood and since. His own lads have gone into the pit at from seven to eight years of age; they are three in number, and this is a very common age at which to take them into the pit. Edmund Stanley, also a working collier in the same pit, sent in his boy between six and seven" (ibid. Nos. 15,16:p.850, ll.55,59 ). Joseph Gott: "Is an underlooker in a mountain-mine near Rochdale, where the children will come about seven years old. The parents, who are often weavers, come and beg to thrust their children in, really before they are fit to go" (ibid. No. 13:p.850, 1. 46).
80. " The most common age for boys to be taken to labour in the coal-mines of. this district," -states Mr. Fletcher, " is' at seven, eight, or nine. But in the' mountain mines,' or smaller collieries towards the hills, which have only thin strata, varying in thickness from 18 inches to 2 feet, they will go so early as six, five, or even four years of age; ` some are so young they go in their bed-gowns.' One little fellow whom I endeavoured to question could not even articulate, although his father, between whose legs he hid his little black face as he stood before me, answered for him that he was seven years old (J. Fletcher, Esq., Report, § 10 App. Pt. II.,p.821).
81. In this district, examined by Mr. Austin, the youngest age at which Children are stated to be employed in the coal-mines is seven (A. Austin, Esq., Report, 4: App. Pt. II., No. 2,p.787; No. 8,p.790; § 5: No. 1,p.793; No. 5,p.795).
82. One case is recorded in which a Child began to work in the pits in this district between five and six years old, and many state that they began at seven.
John Daly, aged eight years and nine months, says, " I trail with my brother; I've been more than two years" (J. C. Symons, Esq., Evidence, No. 324: App., Pt., I.p.309, l.9). James Sampson,
thirty-four years old, collier, says, " I began at six years old" (ibid. No. 315:p.307, 1.2). John Wynn, No. 323; James Atkinson, No. 328; Jonathan Johnson, 330.
83. The agents and under-ground stewards, however, represent the ages at which Children begin work to be much more advanced.
Mr. Alvan Penrice, colliery-agent for Henry Curwen, Esq., Workington-hall, says, " The children begin as trappers at about nine, as trailers at about twelve years of age" (ibid. No. 317,p.307, l.24). Joseph Sharp, under-steward at the Broughton-moor collieries, near Newport " In the thin pits they go as soon as ten years old, perhaps a few at. nine" (ibid. No. 300,p.303, 1.13). Mr. Dickenson, surgeon, Workington: " Mr. Cunven has given positive orders that no child under ten years of age should go into his pits" (ibid. No. 334,p.310, 1. 65).
84. As the result of his investigations in this district the Sub-Commissioner states, that "the Children do not begin to work in the Cumberland Collieries so early as ill Yorkshire; for the coal-seams are all of a good thickness; in the inland collieries they are at least four or five feet thick, and in the sea-coast ones eight, nine, and ten feet thick. Ten years is a common age for Children to begin to work; and they seldom commence before eight and a half years of age (J. C. Symons, Esq., Report, § 2: App. Pt. I.,p.299). The Evidence collected by Mr. Martin agrees with this statement (App. Pt. I., pp. 876, 881).
85. In this district Children are sometimes taken down into the pits as early as five years of age, and by no means uncommonly at six.
Anthony Dowson, examined in the presence of his father, William Dowson, says, "I am eighteen years of age the 13th of this month (April). I went down first into the pit when five years old" (Dr. Mitchell, Evidence, No. 101: App. Pt. L,p.156, l.19).- James Vicars, aged fifteen, says, "I first went down nine years ago, being only six years of age. There are boys of six in the pits" (ibid. No. 100:p.155, 1. 40)_Thomas I,awton, aged twenty-eight, collier, says, " Some boys go down as early as six, which ought not to he allowed. I think children go clown into the pit much too soon. I hope not. to be compelled to take my children under twelve years of age; but necessity compels some men against their inclination" (ibid. No. "2:p.162, 1.33). 86. The returns of the Schedules for 14 collieries in this district, namely, Hetton, North Hetton, South Hetton, East and West Rainton, Pittington, Broomside, Coundon, Tees, Thornley, Sherburn, Great Lumley, Newbottle, Cocken, Painshaw, and St. Helens Auckland, show that out of 235 trappers there are 135 under 10 years of age, and 100 above that age. There is, thereibre, a decided majority under 10 (Dr. Mitcliell, Report, §§ 70, 71: App. Pt. I.,p.125).
87. " Though the very Young Children," adds the Sub-Commissioner, " are not many in proportion, there are still such a number as is painful to contemplate, and which the great coal-owners will perhaps now learn for the first time; and I feel a firm belief that they will do so with sorrow and regret" (ibid. § 48:p.124).
NORTH DURHAM and NORTHUMBERLAND
88. In these districts many Children begin work in the coal-mines at very early ages. One case is recorded in which a Child was taken into 4le,pit at four years alid a Half old; and several at five and between five and six.
Robert Harle, Gosforth Colliery, aged sixteen, says, "Has been down pits eleven and a -half years, at this pit and Seghill (J. R. Leifchild, Esq., Evidence, No. 137: App. Pt.d.,p.597, 1.2). William Hays, aged fifteen, Gosforth Colliery, says Has been down his pit ten years; went down, therefore, at five years old" (ibid. No. 134:p.596, l.36).- Thomas Dotching, Wellington Colliery, on the Tyne: " Calls himself six years old, looks about seven; has been down the pit half a year" (ibid. No. 4:p.569, l.59).- Thomas Wigham, St. Laurence Colliery: " Was down this pit when, his mother said, he was between five and six years old, a wee thing of a boy" (ibid. No. 268:p.623, 1.22).- James Smeatin, aged seventeen, putter: " Knows one boy, about five and a half years old, and very little, down the pit; his name is William Fraser' (ibid. No. 429:p.653, 1. l0).- Mr. George Elliot, aged twenty-seven, Monkwearmouth Colliery "Is the head viewer here and at Washington and Belmont Collieries; is very much pressed and entreated by parents to take children at a very early age, from six years and upwards. Has known boys of five years of age in some pits. Could give two names and instances of boys of five years of age being employed in pits in the county of Durham. One Robert Pattison, now employed down this pit, is now six years of age, and has been down four months. His father, who was not well off, earnestly requested that, he might be taken, but the viewer did not know his age till yesterday, neither does the boy know his own age" (ibid. No. 367:p.642, ll.33, 45.
89. Many cases are stated in which Children begin work at six years old. Joshua Stephenson, aged about eight years, says He has been down the pit two years and more. Went down the pit [the C pit] before he was six years old." -[Note by the Sub-Commissioner- This witness is entered in the returns as seven years of age, and as having been in the pits two months; but. John Graham, the heap-keeper, states to me that he believes the boy has been down nearly two years.] (ibid. No. 38:p.575, l.50).- James Strong, aged seven: - Has been down the pit. one year" (ibid. No. 5: 1).569, 1.66).- Robert Backworth, going fourteen: "Is a half-marrow; has been down pits eight years; went down the Percy Pit at six years old" (ibid. No. 84:p.582, l.37).- Thomas Fletcher, aged fourteen, Walker Colliery: "Was putting as a foal when he was six years old at this colliery" (ibid. No. 296:p.628, l.34).- John Watson, aged seventeen next June, Cowpen Colliery: "Has been nearly eleven years down this pit, all but ten months; went down at six years old" (ibid. No. 239:p.617, l.2).- James Punton, aged fifteen:- "Has been down pits nine years about; was six years and a half old when he went down first" (ibid. No. 130:p.596, 1. 10).- Andrew Fairs, aged eighteen, Tyne Main Colliery " Has been down pits eleven years and a half; first went down this pit at six years and a half old" (ibid. No. 303:p.630, l.47).- Joseph Watkin, twenty years of age, collier Has been down pits 14 years and two months; was six years and a half old when he went down West Moor [or Killingworth] Colliery" (ibid. No. 302:p.630, l.8).- Thomas Carr, forty-five years old, collier "Some of six years old go down now. Lads six years old can keep doors well enough, and soon learn as well as old persons the ways of a pit. Parents could not keep their children if they were not allowed to go down. It takes more to keep a pitman than anybody: pit-lads eat more than other lads, a vast" (ibid. No. 241:p.618, l.47).- Ann Mills, thirty-five years old, wife of a Collier: " Has three children living; her husband is a hewer at Blaydon Main Pit. Her son, Matthew Mills, first went to work at six years and four months old, on account of her husband's bad health" (ibid. No. 260:p.621, l.28.)
T. M. Greenhow, Esq., surgeon, professionally engaged at Walker Colliery, in reply to a series of inquiries proposed to him by the Sub-Commissioner, writes: " Though the condition of the children, in common with that of the entire population connected with the collieries, has been considerably improved of late years, many circumstances connected with their mode of life are of a nature to deserve serious consideration, and certainly admit of material improvement. The most conspicuous of these is the early age at which they are usually employed in the pit. In some collieries this takes place when about six years of age" (ibid. No. 498: 1). 665, l.33) S.--- P---, a respectable witness, states, respecting one of the largest and best-conducted collieries-"I have resided here many years, and am well acquainted with the people. I have seen children go down here at six years of a0re, and have seen them scarcely able to walk, from their tender age and the work; one f knew [named] altered much for the worse after he had been down three or four months; he looked much worse" (ibid. No. 502:p.671, 1. 11).
90. The Sub-Commissioner says, " I visited the house of the parents of a little boy whom I saw keeping a door down Flatworth Pit, on the 20th of May; it was about seven o'clock on the Sunday evening, and the boy, Thomas Roker, was in bed asleep. /His mother said he was aged about six years and seven months, and that he had been down the pit about a month or six weeks. The boy was at school at three years old, and his father wished to make him a better scholar. before he went down. Always puts him to bed early, because he must get up every working morning at three o'clock: and he often rubs his eyes when he is woke, and says he has only just been to sleep. He gets up at 3 A.m., and goes down the pit at 4 o'clock A.M. He gets his dinner directly lie comes home, about half-past 4 P.m., or a quarter to 5 P.m., and then he washes himself and goes to bed between six and seven; so that he will never be up more than two hours from the pit for eating, washing, and playing. When his son gets a little more hardened to the pit, his father means to send him to night-school, and stop an hour oft' his sleep, Thomas generally goes clown the pit in a corf, with a good few boys in it, and sometimes lie goes up on his father's knee. It is a (lusty pit, but he never complains, though he tells many a queer story of the pit. The pit does not hurt him, but makes him a little whiter, and perhaps thinner. He was 'a very fat boy when lie was three years old. Johnny Fiddis was younger when he first went down; thinks people send their bairns earlier down the pit than they did." (ibid. No. 95: `tp.5S5, 1 26).
91. Tile instances recorded in which Children in this district begin to work at seven, and between seven and eight years of age, are so numerous that it would be tedious to cite them. It is generally admitted by all classes of witnesses that it is a common practice in this district for Children to begin work in the pits at eight, and between eight and nine, years of age; though several witnesses state that they admit no Children into their own pits under nine, and some few that they admit none under ten, eleven, and even twelve.
Nicholas Wood, Esq., viewer of Killingworth, Hetton, and other collieries, says, " Trappers may be said to go to work at a minimum average of eight years" (ibid. No. 97,p.587, 1.15) -William Morrison, Esq., of Pelaw-house, Chester-le-Street, surgeon, professionally engaged in the Countess of Durham's collieries, says, " I think I am perfectly correct in stating eight years to be the earliest age at which children are employed in the mines" (ibid. No. 496,p.662, 1.42). This witness must, of course, be understood to speak only of the mines of which he is himself personally cognisant.-Mr. William Bailey, under-viewer of Hetton Colliery:, " Has been here nineteen years; has risen up to his present rank through all gradations of work from a trapper at, ten years of age. Has worked at various Tyne collieries. Trappers go down from eight to nine years old, and he has frequently to interfere with parents to prevent them from going earlier; thinks they should never go before nine years old" (ibid. No. 466, p.648, 1.66; and p.649, l.1).- George Johnson, Esq., viewer of Wellington, Heaton, and Burdon Main Collieries: "Does not allow children under nine or ten years old to be trappers, although a strong desire for earlier employment exists both amongst parents and children" (ibid. No. 5,p.567, 1. 1).
EAST OF SCOTLAND
92. It is more common for Children to begin to work in the collieries in the East of Scotland at five and six years of age even than in any part of England.
Jane Peacock, found in the Preston Links Colliery, two miles north of Tranent, could have keen only five years old when she first commenced work in the pit (H. Funks, Esq., Evidence, No. 181, App. Pt. I,p.469, 1.33).- Jane Cumming began work at six years of age: " A most interesting girl, labouring under a nervous complaint, and though, from sickness, compelled to remain out of the mines for weeks together, yet as convalescence returned was forced to the pits" (ibid. No. 181,p.469, 1.38)- Mr. Francis Grier, manager of the Fordel Colliery, the property of Admiral Sirp.Durham, Bart., of Fordel: " We have 82 young persons and children working below ground. The females begin to assist to draw by the chain from six years of age, and many from six to twelve years of age are employed" (ibid. No. 361,p.501, l.6).- Mr. Henry Chisholm, manager of the Lochgelly, Castle Hill, and Dean Pit, Collieries, in the parish of Beath and Auchterarder, in the county of Fife: " At some coal-workings children commence as early as six years of age, and remain below as long as the adults." The same witness adds: " Very young children are not needed, indeed they are never required; and no children ought to be employed under twelve years of age in any mines, as they lose both education and strength by being under ground so early" (ibid. No. 391,p.505,". 41, 44).
93. These statements as to the early age at which Children commence work in the pits are confirmed by the most abundant evidence derived from examinations of the Children themselves; and it must be borne in mind that many of the youngest of these Children have to carry coals on their backs, from the workings to the surface, up steep ladders, as will be found described under " Mature of Employment."
Margaret Leveston, six years old, coal-bearer, says: " Been down at coal-carrying six weeks; makes 10 to 14 rakes a day; carries full 56 lbs. of coal in a wooden backit. The work is na guid; it is so very sair" (ibid. No.116:p.458, 1.20).- Robert Seton, eleven years old, coal-putter: "Father took me clown when I was six years old, and I have wrought below ever since' (ibid. No. SO:p.451, l.62).- Mary Neilson, ten years old, coal-bearer: " Sister was six years old when she first wrought, and I went down at that age" (ibid. No. 119:p.458, l.62).
Margaret Watson, sixteen years of age, coal-bearer I was first taken below to carry coals when I was six years old, and have never been away from the work, except a few evenings in the summer months, when some of us go to Carlops, two miles over the moor, to learn the reading" (ibid. No. "5:p.459, 1.4).- Thomas Brown, ten years old, putter: " Wrought below four years;" so that he began work at six years of age (ibid. No. 189:p.471, 1. 36).- David Neil, nine years old, coal-putter: " I work for a master on mother's account; have done so three years;" so that he began work at six years of age (Ibid. No. 166:p.466, l.38).- William Kerr, eleven years old, coal-bearer: "Wrought below five years;" began work therefore at six years of age (Ibid. No. 160:p.465, l.46).- David McNeil, nine years old, putter: " I work wi' Johnnie Scott; done so for three years; father first carried me down;" began work therefore at six years of age (Ibid. No. 173:p.467, l.30).
94. It is the common practice in this district for Children to begin work at seven and between seven and eight years of age.
Grahame Hardie, Esq., managing partner of the Falkirk Iron Company, says: `° The boys are taken very young to the work, many not reaching the age of seven and eight years; and many do neither read nor write, or are they likely after beginning to work ever to learn to read or write" (Ibid. No. 252: 1).482,1.55).- Mr. John Blyth, mining overseer, Edgehead Colliery, says: " I have been under-ground overseer in these mines eight years, and have witnessed with regret the early ages colliers take their children below ground. The masters have no control over the colliers; or, rather, they never interfere with the customs of the colliers themselves. Children of seven and eight years of age are repeatedly taken below, and then all hope of instruction ends" (Ibid. No. 104:p.456,1.20).- Rev. William Parlane, M.A., minister of the United Associated Church, Tranent: " I have known children often removed from school to coal-mines as early as seven years of age; afterwards they sometimes return a few months in the evenings. Children of amiable temper and conduct at seven years of age often return next season from the collieries greatly corrupted, and, as an old teacher says, with most hellish dispositions. Children ought not to be taken from school under twelve or fourteen years of age" (Ibid. No. 178, p.468,1.41).
The following also began work at seven years of age:-David Naysmith (No. 6); David Brown (No. 21); Betsy Sharp (No. 133); Mayday Lumsden (No. 201); Grace Cook (No. 365).
95. Many proprietors, managers, agents, and other officers manifest the utmost indifference as to the age at wbich Children are employed in their works. Their opinions and feelings on the matter are fairly represented by John James Cadell, Esq., proprietor, who says, " No regulation exists here for the prevention of Children working below. I think the parents are the best judges when to take their Children below for assistance" (Ibid. No. 216:p.476, 1. 29).
96. But there are proprietors and managers who perceive the evil of very young Children working in the pits, and who take some pains to prevent it.- Mr. Adam Begg, lessee of the Lumphinnins Colliery, says: " 1 do not employ any male or female in my colliery under fourteen years of age" (Ibid. No. 305:p.506, l.12).- Mr. Thomas Bishop, mining overseer and manager of Sir William Baillie's mines at Polkernmet, says Boys never descend till ten years of age, and that is much too early, as they are not strong enough for the labour. Coal-working being sore heavy labour, lads of fourteen years of age, if strong, are more fitted, and are enabled to form themselves well, as also to become better workers " (Ibid. No. 202:p.471, l.12).- Mr. Andrew Stirling, overseer of the Banknock Colliery, states: " Mr. Wilson, the proprietor, some time since, tried to exclude boys under twelve years of age; but the men rebelled, and the order was obliged to be cancelled" (Ibid. No. 267:p.485, l.28).- "I do not allow," says "Mr. John Robertson, manager of the Plean and Auchinbowie Collieries, in the parish of St. Ninian's, Stirlingshire, " children to go below under twelve years of age, even if they are forward, unless it be necessary for the subsistence of Borne widowed mother, or very large family" (Ibid. No. 282:p.488, l.12).- -John Craich, Esq., says: " Very young children are not allowed to be wrought; some few exceptions exist, as children of widows, or where the families are very large" (Ibid. No. 291:1). 489, l.50).- .Mr. James Marshall, jun., taxman, says Few lads are taken down earlier than twelve, unless the parent be destitute, or the mother is a widow; then any amount a boy, a inure infant, can earn is more than double or treble what she would get by applying to a kirk session" (Ibid. No. 274:p.486,1.37).- Mr. William Ballingall, agent to the proprietors of the Balgonie and Balbirnie Collieries, says It has not been the practice of the proprietors of these collieries to employ very young persons at `the coal for many years. At Balgonie or Thornton Colliery only six boys are employed, not one under eleven years of age. At Balbirnie men only are employed, the nature of the work requiring full strength" (Ibid. No. 420:p.510,1. 45).
97. But these instances of care on the part of proprietors and managers to keep Children under ten or twelve years old out of the pits are among the exceptions to the general rule. The prevailing tenor of the evidence establishes the correctness of the statement of Mr. David Graham, lessee, that "colliers begin to work at very early ages in this part (Ibid. No. 424:p.5", 1. 25);" and many of the persons whose offices bring them into immediate contact with the Children, express themselves in the language of Mr. Andrew Wilson, coal-grieve: " It is much to be regretted that such young ones are forced to labour in relines about this part of Fife, as few are fitted to do so before fourteen or fifteen years of age " (Ibid. No. 336 . 496, 1. 32). Moreover, in most of the coal districts in tire East of Scotland, the proportion of persons under age to the adult workpeople, and the proportion of those under thirteen to those under eighteen years of age, is remarkably large.
WEST OF SCOTLAND
98. the collieries in this part of the country, according to Peter Nielson, collier, "the boys that keep the trap-doors are between "six and seven years of age" (T. Tancred, Esq., Evidence, No. 2, App,. Pt. I.,p.356, 1. 5); but most of the witnesses state that the Children in this district generally begin work in the pits at eight years of age. "Children are taken down at a very early age, often when eight years old, and even earlier. The rules very general amongst the colliers for stinting or limiting each other's earnings have an effect in promoting the employment of younger Children than would otherwise be taken below ground. The general rule is that a man shall not earn above from 3s. 6d. to 4s. a-day; consequently, whatever quantity of coal delivered at the pit bottom is paid by the employer 3s. 6d. or 4s.-this is fixed by the men as a man's I darg,' or day's work. No collier is allowed to deliver more than this, though the employer were willing to pay him for it. If, however, a man has children, they can draw this coal for him, and thus enable kiln to get through his darg' in a shorter time, and with less labour than if he had to draw them himself. When the child comes to about ten years old, he is considered by the colliers as a ` quarter man,' sometimes called a ` quarter bain,' or 'ben.' The employment of such a child entitles a man to deliver a quarter more coals above a man's ` darg,' and thus, instead of 4s., to earn 5s. a day. At twelve or thirteen a child is a half man, and at sixteen or seventeen a three-quarter plan, and may then use a pick and hew coal for himself. A child of ten would be of very little or no use alone; but as the fact of his being in the pit enables his father to earn more than he otherwise could, he is induced not only to take him down, but to bring down another younger, of nine or so, to help him in drawing the whirley." (T. Tancred, Esq., Report, 25, 29: App., Pt. I.,p.317.)
99. From the evidence collected in this district it appears that, although there are cases in which Children begin to work in the coal-pits at five or six years of age, yet that these cases are very rare; but it is not uncommon for them to begin work on the bank at six years old, and it is common for them to go dowel into the pits at seven.
Mr. Thomas Harrison, aged sixty-six, mining agent: "Many Children are employed in the mines in this district on the surface, and the age at which they usually begin to work is from six to tell" (H. H. Juries, Esq., Evidence, No. 195: App., Pt. II.,p.464, 1. 71).- Mr. Richard Wood, general manager of the British Iron Company's coal and iron works, " He has been long used to lame works, and the management of men and children working together in numbers in iron and coal works. The collier children begin to go into the pits some as early as seven years old" (Ibid. No. 1:p.377,". 7,18).- Mr. Charles Harrison, manager of the Cwd Talwr and Leeswood Coal and Iron Works, " He has been accustomed to coal and iron works all his life; children often begin to work in the pits at seven years old" (Ibid. No. 74:p.398, 1. 46).- Mr. Thomas Williams, Rhosmedre: " He was born and bred in the parish of Ruabon, and knows all the works in it.; those [parents] that can keep their children at school will not let them go till they are twelve years old; few can keep them so long; they therefore generally go at ten, but very often at seven" (Ibid. No. 42:p.388, ll.17,25.)
100. Many Young Persons and Children state that they themselves began work in the pits at seven years of age; among others the witnesses Nos. 24, 104, 105, 134. About in equal number say that they began work at eight years of age, and from eight to nine; but the great majority state that they (lid not begin underground labour before they were eleven, twelve, and upwards.
101. The general tenor of the evidence collected in this district corroborates the statement that, " If the seam of coal be thin, as, for instance, from two to three feet, Children even as young as six years are taken, but I met with only a very few instances where Children commenced work in the coal and ironstone pits at such an age. Seven is by no means an uncommon age in the Ruabon district where the seams are thin; nine and ten, however, are the ages it which the great majority begin to go into the pits" (H. H. Jones, Esq., Report, 10: App. Pt. II.,p.366).
102. It is widely different in the coal-field of South Wales and the contiguous English county of Monmouth, in which more cases are recorded of the employment of Children in the pits at very early ages than in any other district. From the evidence of several witnesses it appears that it is no very unusual thing for Children in this district to be taken into the pits as early as four years of age.
Joseph Richards, aged seven, collier, Buttery Hatch Colliery, parish of Mynyoddusllwyn, county of Monmouth, says: " Has been down three years and a half." [Steward said he was sure the boy had been down at least three years.] (R. H. Franks, Esq., Evidence, No. 199: App. Pt. H.,p.535, l.8).- William Richards, aged seven and a half, Buttery Hatch Colliery " I been down about three years. When I first went down I couldn't keep my eyes open; I don't fall asleep now; I smokes my pipe; smokes half a quarter a week." [This little fellow was intelligent and good-humoured; his cap was furnished with the usual collier candlestick, and his pipe was stuck familiarly in his button-hole.] (Ibid. No. 193:p.531,".28,32). William Skidmore, aged eight, collier: " Don't know how old I am; father thinks he is eight years; doesn't know when first went to work, it is so long since." [The steward here stated he was certain the boy had been down four years.] (Ibid. No. 198:p.535,1.2).- William Smith, ten years old, collier: " `Forked below four years and a half; works with father and brother'; brother is seven years old, and has assisted father three years." Ibid. No. 201:p.535, 1. 17)- William Richard, aged 12, coal-cutter: " Works with his father. Has been at work ever since lie was four years old. Was taken to work by his father, because times were poor, and he was worth all extra tram." [A tram or dram is the privilege of a cart of coal as additional work.] (Ibid. No. 131:p.525, 1. 32).- Mr. Frederick Evans, clerk and accountant for the Dowlais Collieries: " I have known instances of a father carrying his child of four years old on his back to the work, and keeping him with him in the stall all day for the purpose of obtaining an additional tram allowed him. Children are generally brought to work about six years old" (R. W. Jones, Esq., Evidence, No. 121: App. Pt. II,p.646,1.31).- Mr. Samuel Jones, cashier and clerk, Waterloo Colliery, parish of Mynyoddusllwyn, Monmouthshire: " When work is dull, the fathers carry the boys below when four or five years old' (R. H. Franks, Esq., Evidence, No. 207: App. Pt. II.,p.536, l.31).- Mr. Daniel Morgan, agent to Sir Thomas Phillips and Company, occupiers, Court y Bella, parish of Mynyoddnsllwyn: " Many young boys are taken into the mines as soon as they can stand on their legs" (Ibid. No. 227:p.538, 1. 48).- Mr. William Jenkins, under agent to the Gellgau Collieries, says: " Children are taken down as soon as they can crawl" (Ibid. No. 137.p.526, l.33).
103. It is by no means uncommon in this district for children to be taken into the pits at five years of age, and at five years and a half.
Susan Reece, six years old, Plymouth Works, Merthyr Tydvil: " Been below six or eight months" (Ibid. No. 48: p.513,1 16).- Morgan Jenkins, six years old, Taff Vale, parish of Eglwysilan, Glamorganshire: "Began to work four months since" (Ibid. No. 67:p.516,1.42).- David Watkins, six years old: " Been down three months" (Ibid, No. 367: p.561, 1.58).- Mary Davis, near seven years old: "A very pretty little girl, who was fast asleep under a piece of rock near the air-door below ground. Her lamp had one out for want of oil; and, upon waking her, she said the rats, or some one, had run away' with her bread and cheese, so she went to sleep. The overman who was with me thought she was not so old, though he felt sure she had been below near eighteen months" (Ibid. No. 46:p.513, l.5).- Josiah Jenkins, seven years old: " Has been down eighteen months" (Ibid. No. 200:p.535, l.").- Moses Williams, seven years old: " Father carried me down eighteen months since: he brings me in the morning, and I return with him at night" (Ibid. No. 219:p.538,1.9).- Thomas Lewis, nine years old " Been four years among the minerals" (Ibid. No. 175:p.532,1.9).- Jeremiah Jeremiah, ten years old, collier: " Has been five years at. work" (Ibid. No. 195:p.53 ,1.49).- William Smith, ten years old, collier: " Worked below four years and a half" (Ibid. No. 201:p.535,1.16)- William Freeman, eleven years old, collier: " Been working at coal six years" (Ibid. No. 197:p.534, 1. 60).- Epoch Williams, thirteen years old, haulier: " Thinks father took him to work when five years old" (Ibid. No. 306:p.551, l.6).- Griffith George, fourteen years old, haulier: - We have one, David Rosser, who is only five years old" (Ibid. No. 287:p.548,1.7).- William Brockwier, door-keeper, 30th April: " I shall be seven years old the 1st of August. I keep this door. I have been here ten months" (R. W. Jones, Esq., Evidence, No. 22: App. Pt. II.,p.605, l.39).Mr. Richard Andrews, overseer: " Colliers take their children to work below ground at very early ages. There is one little fellow, by name John Davis, helping his father, who is certainly not more than five years old. It is not. unfrequent for colliers now to take them down even in petticoats to claim a tram" (R. H. Franks, Esq., Evidence, No. 152: App. Pt. II.,p.528, l.55).- Mr. Thomas Josephs, mineral agent of the Plymouth Works, Merthyr Tydvil, says,. " Children are employed as air-door keepers at five years of age" (Ibid. No. 30: p.510, l.40).- Mr. William James, agent, says, " You may see children taken down at five years of age" (Ibid. No. 260:p.544,1.25).- Mrs. Mary Lewis says, "My youngest son, Lewis, was taken down at. five years and three months old, and has been down ever since" (Ibid. No. 217:p.537,1.55).- Mr. John Hoare, cashier of the Cwymbuchan Works, parish of Michaelston, Glamorganshire: - Our collier people take their children down to early and laborious employment, and mere infants open and shut the air-doors" (Ibid. No. 335:p.556, l.61).- Mr. William Strange, medical assistant, Llanvalon, says, "They [the people] certainly had a bad practice here of taking children down as soon as they can creep about; many as early as five years of age" (Ibid. No. 157:p.529,1. 38).
104. The Sub-Commissioner says, " In the returns of the Pentyrch Collieries I find one child, John Thomas, aged five years and seven months, who has been a picker of scattered Mine for his father, a miner, seven months, for which be received 2s. a-week; and one, Edward Milward, aged six years, who has been an assistant to his father, a collier, for two months" (R. H. Franks, Esq., Report, § 6, App. Pt. Il.,p.471).
105. Among others the following witnesses state that they themselves began work in tile pits at six years of age:
Among those examined by R. W. Jones, Esq., Richard Painter, No. 43; David and William Thomas, No. 52; and John' Thomas, No. 141; and among those examined by R. H. Franks,
Esq., John Thomas, No. 318; Richard Hutton, No. 221; Henry George, No. 228; Richard Richards, No. 145; Morgan Kenneth, No. 181; John Evans, No. 222; John Jones, No. 271; John Thomas, No. 147; Thomas Jenkins, No. 229; John Price, No. 307; George Roberts, No. 231; David Tyler, No. 248; Joseph Roberts, No. 230; William Williams, No. 176; John Reece, No. 177; Charles Pascal, No. 224; Joseph Head, No. 226; John Richard, No. 162; John Hughes, No. 235; John Jones, No. 233; and John Treasure, No. 257.
William David, foreman to the Cwynrhondda Colliery, parish of Llantwert, Glamorganshire: "Many fathers take their children to work very early, to their great injury. I was taken as early as six years myself, and, for want of time, have never been able to learn the English. [Mrs. Davis, the wife of the proprietor of the colliery, who was present, further observed, that. the practice of the colliers in that part, of taking down their children so early as five or six years of age, on an idle excuse of looking after their tools and assisting them, was much to be deprecated.] (Ibid. No. 127,p.525,ll. 3-10.)
106. The correctness of these statements is borne out by other classes of witnesses, even by some of the coal-owners, among others by Lewis Thomas, Esq., proprietor of several collieries in the counties of Glamorgan and Monmouth, who says: " It is a practice for fathers to carry their children to the mines on their backs at very early ages. Young colliers begin work at six years of age" (Ibid. No. 286:p.547, l.45).
Mr. John Millward, constable in the parish of Merthyr Tydvil: " Boys are taken to work sometimes at six years old. I have seen fathers carry their sons on their backs at this age, particularly to the collieries" (Ibid. No. 96:p.637, l.12).- Mr. Abraham Rowlands, surgeon to the Nantig1io and Beaufort Works: -Tine children go to the works very young-about seven or eight years old-girls and boys the same" (Ibid. No. 47:p.621, l.23).
107. It is the common practice in this district for Children to be devoted to the labour of the coal-pit at seven years of age, as is proved indubitably by the testimony of witnesses so numerous that it would be tedious to enumerate them.
108. The Sub-Commissioner says in his Report: " You will find in the evidence a sufficient number of instances to enable you to appreciate the very early age at which it is the practice to take Children down to work in the mines, and that it can scarcely be said to be an uncommon occurrence for a Child to work at the early age of five years and a half." (R. H. Franks, Esq., Report, § 4: App. Pt. II.,p.471.) From the cases cited, it is clear that the Sub-Commissioner has in this instance under-stated the results of the evidence which he has collected.
FOREST OF DEAN
109. In this district cases are recorded in which Children began to work in the coal-mines as early as six years of age, but they are comparatively few, the more usual age being from seven to eight.
See Evidence of Mr. David Gethin, clerk to the Parkend Coal Works (E. Waring, Esq., Evidence, No. 9: App. Pt. II.,p.16, l.8.); 'and of Thomas Batten, Esq., surgeon, Coleford (Ibid. No. 36,p.21, l.14).
110. In this district also cases are recorded in which Children began to work in the coal-mines at six years of age and between six and seven. " The youngest boy I have heard of is George Woodington, who has been working as a door-boy one year, though lie is now only seven years and a half old. ' This infantine labourer has never been taught his letters, but attends a place of worship with his father. I went to the mouth of Easton Pit to see the colliers come up after work, and saw the urchin of seven years and a half emerge from the hutch with his father, his white cheeks strongly contrasting with the coal-dust smeared over them; lie lead his candle stuck in front of his cap like all the rest. The poor little fellow answered my questions cheerfully, and seemed quite naturalised to his doleful vocation. There was something at once grotesque and revolting in the workmanlike demeanour of " this pigmy collier. His father assured me he had been with him in the pit for 12 months" (E. Waring, Esq., Report, § 81: App. Pt. II.,p.37; and Evidence, No. 58:p.42, 1. 7.)
111. Many of the proprietors and managers in this district state, however, that no Children are admitted into their coal-mines under eight or nine years of age.-See Evidence of Air. Joseph Staley (Ibid. No. 49:p.39, 1. 29). The general tenor of the evidence given by the different classes of witnesses examined in this district is, that Children commence underground labour at nine years of age.
112. The managers and proprietors state that the earliest age at which Children are taken into the coal-pits in this district is eight, but that the usual age is ten; although there is abundant evidence, derived from the Children themselves and the adult colliers, that many begin to work in the pits between six and seven.
Mr. John Smith, acting partner at the Hewish and Writhlington Coal-works, near Radstock, says, -The boys do not commonly begin before ten, but there are some of only eight years of age" (Dr. Steivart, Evidence, No. 11: App. Pt. II,p.52, l.66).- Mr. Moses Reynolds, Bedminster Colliery, near Bristol, says, "He has been thirty years employed in managing the under-ground work of the Bedminster Collieries: for the last twenty years he has been sole manager and bailiff. The smallest boys are usually eight or ten years old" (Ibid. No. 2:p.49, 1. 29).- Mr. William Asham, Crandoun Coal-works, near Radstock: " Has been thirty-four years manager of the Crandoun Coal-works. The youngest boy now employed is ten years old" (Ibid. No.10:p.52,1.44).- Mr. Charles Asham, Radstock, near Bath The boys are taken into the Coal-works at about eight years old by their parents, but not before this age at all regularly. They are occasionally taken in, as a matter of curiosity, when quite young; but since he has had the management of the works no child has been employed before eight years old" (Ibid. No. 9:p.51, l.59).
113. Yet it is stated by Mr. William Brice, clerk and manager of the Coal Barton and Vobster Collieries, near Frome, that among 100 hands of all descriptions employed in the coal-works at Coal-Barton, " there are some at seven and under" (ibid. No. 7,p.50, 1. 48); and many of the adult colliers state that they themselves began work between six and seven, and at seven years of age.
114. In the coal-mines in the South of Ireland, no Children at all were found. All the underground work, which, in the coal-mines of England, Scotland, and Vales, is done by Young Children, appears in Ireland to be done by Young Persons between the ages of thirteen and eighteen. The Sub-Commissioner in reporting on the Dromagh and Dysart Collieries, in the county of Cork, says: "There are in the Dromagh pits upwards of 200 people employed, but no Children. I examined a good number of the Young Persons, and found their statements generally concurring. All the Young Persons between thirteen and eighteen years of age, and indeed many more who are older, are employed underground as ` flurries,' pushing the loaded waggons along the railways from the workings to the foot of the shafts; this, and filling the waggons and buckets, are their only employments" (Frederick Roper, Esq., Report, No. 6, § 2, 3. App. Pt. I.,p.868).
115. In the Collieries in the County of Tipperary no Children are employed in underground work, excepting a few young boys as trappers. " I first visited Mardyke Colliery, which is the nearest to Killenaule, and where the agent for them all, Mr. Robert Nicolson, resides. Mr. Nicolson stated that they had a few young boys who were employed underground, merely opening and shutting the doors after the waggons had passed through, in order to keep the fresh air in its regular course round the mine; that for the other work, as ` hurries,' they required strong able young men of from about eighteen years old and upwards. At the Sleive Ardagh Colliery, which is about six miles distant, but under the same management and direction, there are about twenty young men under eighteen years of age employed, but no Children. There also were two or three little boys employed as at the other pit, opening and shutting the doors, after the waggons had passed. In this neighbourhood, between the two principal pits of the company, there is a very extensive colliery, called the Coolbrook, belonging to --- Langley, Esq., which I visited. Mr. Nasmyth, the agent, told me they did not employ Children,that they were of no use; they required strong able lads of seventeen or eighteen years old to do their work, of whom about 30 were employed. There are about 400 people employed at this pit" (ibid., No. 8, § 1, 2, 4, 8) 9, 10: pp. 871, 872).
116. Of the Coal Field on the borders of Kilkenny and Queen's County he says, " I inspected about a dozen of the different shafts, worked by contractors, and found none but men employed; indeed, I was informed that none but strong, able young men would be of any use in the pits, the labour being severe; I did not see any apparently under eighteen years of age. I went down into two of the pits and saw the people at their different work, all of whom were strong, able men; even the `hurries,' who draw the coals to the foot of the shaft, were mostly strong young men" (ibid. No. 9, § 3, 4:p.872).
117. At the small collieries of Drumglass and Coal Island, in the county of Tyrone, examined by T. Martin, Esq., Young People appear to be employed as early as eight and-nine years of age. (T. Martin, Esq., Evidence, App. Pt. I.p.884, ll. 5 and 62.) 6 .
118. In concluding the subject of age, it is right to observe that many of the adult workpeople in almost all the districts state that they themselves began work in the pits at the same early ages; and this is constantly assigned as one reason why the colliers now so frequently take their own children down when they are mere infants; but there is also evidence that in some districts it is the practice at present to take children into the coal mines at earlier ages than at any former period. This appears from the evidence collected by Mr. Fletcher to be the case in Lancashire. " Parents," say the underlookers, "come and beg to thrust their Children in, really before they are fit to go;" and Mr. Fletcher states that the " chief agent of the largest mining company here, having his attention drawn to the subject by the increased number of minor accidents in the pits, has become convinced that parents are pushing their Children into colliery employment at an earlier age, because of the legal restriction from sending there to the neighbouring factories, in which they would be exposed to far less hardship and hazard" (J. Fletcher, Esq., Report, § 10: App. Pt. II.,p.821)