William Cobbett (1763-1835), after a long career as a publicist, entered the Reformed Parliament in 1833 and at once took part in the debate on the bill Lord Althorpe had introduced as a result of the Sadler Committee's report. — Scott and Baltzly

Mr Cobbett said, a new discovery had been made in the House that night, which would doubtless excite great astonishment in many parts; at all events it would in Lancashire. It had formerly been said that the Navy was the great support of England; at another time that our maritime commerce was the great bulwark of the country; at another time that our colonies; and it had even been whispered that the Bank was; but now it was admitted, that our great stay and bulwark was to be found in three hundred thousand little girls, or rather in one eighth of that number. Yes; for it was asserted, that if these little girls worked two hours less per day, our manufacturing superiority would depart from us. [Hansard's Parliamentary Debates. 3rd Series, vol. XIX. (18 July 1833): 912.]


Readings in European History Since 1814. Ed. Jonathan F. Scott and Alexander Baltzly. Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1930.

Last modified 2 May 2018