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to have the use of the books at a mere nominal subscription. In particular the extensive establishment of Messrs. Peters, of Kirkland, on the Leven in Fifeshire, may be referred to.
As to deaths and mutilations. It may be observed, that the provisions introduced by the legislature into the Factory Acts for the protection of the lives and limbs of the operatives, have failed in their intended effect; for, melancholy to relate, during six months, ending the 30th April last, no fewer than 1,788 persons either lost their lives, or suffered mutilation from accidents arising from unfenced machinery. It is true the law says, that all mill-gearing whilst in motion for any manufacturing purpose, and near to which children or young persons are liable to pass, shall be securely fenced. But what is the penalty for a breach of this law? Simply a fine of not less than 5l., and not more than 201., a sum perfectly ridiculous in amount when it is considered that the violators of the law are to a man wealthy capitalists, and are mostly possessed of mills the average worth of each of which is 100,0001. and upwards. The absurdity of the 5l. fine is admitted in the last report of the Factory Inspectors, wherein it is stated that there is a great disinclination among manufacturers to comply with the law, and fence their machinery; and moreover, that, in order to regulate the burthen of the numerous prosecutions with which they have been lately threatened by the Factory Inspectors, they, the manufacturers, have instituted “The National Association of Factory Occupiers,” the special object of which, it is said, is to raise a fund for defraying thereout all fines for not fencing which may be inflicted upon members. For the sake of suffering humanity, it is hoped that, notwithstanding such illegal association, the Inspectors will vigorously prosecute all violations of the law in this respect.
Besides the above machinery accidents, and within the same space of time, there have occurred no fewer than 1,857 deaths and mutilations, arising from accidents not being machinery accidents. Surely the yearly return of considerably more than 7,000 deaths and mutilations is a fact that should receive the prompt attention of the legislature.
The author suggests the following remedies :- That the penalty for unguarded machinery should be not a fine alone, but fine and imprisonment; as to the latter portion of which punishment, “The National Association of Factory Occupiers ” would be powerless. In every instance an action for compensation to the injured party, or to his or her family, should be brought by the Factory Inspector in whose district the death or mutilation happens; to carry out which, further powers than those contained in the 7 & 8 Vict. c. 15, s. 24, should be given to Inspectors. A compendious and inexpensive method of procedure for compensation, without the intervention of pleadings and the expensive and technical detail of an action at law, should be instituted ; and lastly, the Inspectors, being public officers, should be fully protected and indemnified against all costs and personal inconvenience in respect of any of the proceedings taken by them in their public capacity. The case of Coe v. Platt, post, p. 47, affords an apt illustration of the inadequacy of the present powers now provided by the legislature for meeting so monstrous an evil as a yearly average of more than 7,000 deaths and mutilations, arising from the pursuit of one single branch of our national industry. Surely next session of Parliament will provide or endeavour to provide the remedy rendered necessary by so fearful a mortality and amount of human suffering.