Upon the SPEAKER inquiring whether any hon. member seconded the amendment, no one responded, and the right hon. gentleman therefore declared that it fell to the ground.
On the question that the Bill be read a second time. Mr. A. ELLIOT said the Home Secretary had not pointed oui the
way in which the existing law was found wanting. Mr. BROADHURST was not prepared to say but what Ii great part
of the Bill might be useful and might do a great deal of good, and might in some cases accomplish its object; but even in that respect there was room for considerable and honest doubt. With regard to the police clause he could not agree to that under any circumstances whatever. It would make life in large cities intolerable to persons whose avocations in life kept them out till late at night. The police, however good and impartial, were not to be trusted with such extraordinary powers. He would be second to no man in desiring that innocence and childhood should be properly protected, but let the House be careful not to do more httrm than good. For two years he had been sitting on the Commission, investigating' the condition of the poor in the metropolis and other large cities, and he appealed to the Home Sef)retary, who also sat on the Commission, to say whether the greater part of this social evil which made innocent childhood a marketable commodity was not due to people herding together under conditions worse than thoae of the beasts of the field-'-whole families in one room, sometimes two families, and lodgers both men ar:.d women. "\Vas it possible there should be innocence among children brought up under these conditions'! The Legislature must go to the real root of the evil, and provide for human beings what they could not provide for themselves. Poor women were driven to the streets by the treatment they received from a merciless worid. There were thousands of girls marching over the bridges from the south of London to the City or the West, sometimes shivering, wet, and hungry, to labour to their utmost capacity for a mere pittance insufficient to maintain them in the decencies of life. It was no wonder they were unable to withstand the temptations which wealth offered them. Within the last day or two strong remarks have been made with respect to a publication which had drawn public atten+,ion to this subject. He had no con-
July 15th, I B8i. demnation for that publication; he hesi~ted to condemn it. A man who attempted to pull a fellow creature out of a cess-pool must ·expect that many would shrink from him. But when men and women hoped by these means to bring about a better state of things they deserved well of the nation. It was, however, for the House to deal with the source of the evil rather than with the results, and to be careful lest in attempting to do good they should do great harm. _
Mr. WARTON declared that he was opposed to the Bill root and branch. It was almost impossible to get justice from a jury or even a judge in these cases, and yet there were societies (pretending to be formed for the protection of young girls) which lived by bringing charges against men. The report of one of them contained the words, "\Ve never fail to get a conviction "; and he contended that no man, however respectable and innocent, was ss.fe from such an organization. Criticising the details of the Bill, the hon. member asked, " 'Vho is the wretched draughtsman who put this tissue of nonRense together?" It was a measure that would open the door to unlimited extortion, and which took the false step of confusing the distinction between vice and crime.