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. 黄色视频网站 [See larger version] "No question but that he'll pass!" said one. "He's all brain,擨'd be content with half as much." She was glad in a way that everything was so different, glad that Reuben's love-making was so utterly unlike Harry's. Otherwise she could never have plunged herself so deep into forgetfulness. She was quite without regrets攕he could never have imagined she could be so free of them. She lived for the present, and for the future which was not her own. She was at rest. No longer the pursuing feet came after her, making her life a nightmare of long flights攕he was safe in her captor's grasp, borne homeward on his shoulder.