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The Truck System—Question

Volume 203: debated on Thursday 28 July 1870

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said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether he will state to the House the method in which he proposes to institute an inquiry into the working of the Truck Act?

Sir, on the Motion of the hon. Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella), I stated that the inquiry he asked into the offences against the Truck Act would be conducted by the Home Office in the manner it was done in 1854 by Mr. Tremenheere in England and Wales, and Mr. Hill Burton in Scotland. Subsequent information has, however, satisfied me that the inquiry must, to be efficacious, be conducted on the present occasion in a much more stringent manner. The evidence of offences against the Truck Act will have to be obtained from the masters who have committed the offences, from the foremen who have been instruments in the hands of the masters, from the shopkeepers who have shared the profits of the illegal traffic, and from the men who are dependent on the same masters for future employment. Production and examination of the books, and in many cases examination of the premises, will also be necessary in order that a right opinion may be formed of the legality or illegality of the payments. Under these circumstances, it has been thought expedient to apply to Parliament for the necessary powers, and notice of a Bill will be given this evening.