THE REPORT OF 1842
often very low and narrow, it was necessary to use very small
children for this purpose As a rule the carriages were
pushed along small iron railways, but sometimes they were drawn by children and women, "harnessed like dogs in a gocart," and moving, like dogs, on all fours. Another chfldren's task was that of pumping water in the under-bottom of pits, a task that kept children standing ankle-deep in water for twelve hours
The hours worked by the children varied from one district to another. They were seldom less than twelve; in Derbyshire, singled out as the worst county by the Commission, where the mines were let to small contractors, known as "butties," they were often sixteen, and the Commissioners could report that in some cases children had been known to remain in the pit for thirty-six hours, while working doublé shifts. In such a life there was little time or energy to spare for education or religion, and the stories told by the Sub-Commissioners to illustrate the neglect and ignorance in which these children grew up made a deep impression on a ruling class which cherished the Christian revelation not least as an aid to civil order
The employment of women offended an instinct that was still more powerful. The picture of men and women working together in the mines, almost naked, under repulsive and degrading conditions, outraged the sense of decency of the
1. Thus Anna Hoile, in the Halifax district, a hurrier, attended a Sundayschool, though she could not read. "I have heard of God and of Jesus Christ, but I can't teil who that was; if I died a good girl I should go to heaven - if I were bad I should have to be burned in brimstone and fire; they told me that at school yesterday, I did not know it before." Henry Jowett, aged eleven, said, "I do not know who God is. Jesüs Christ is heaven; if I die a bad boy I do not know what will become of me; I have heard of the devil, they used to teil me of him at the everyday school."