Question: How long have you practised as a physician in Manchester?
Answer: Twenty-four years.
Question: Have you, in Manchester, occasion to visit any public establishments?
Answer: I am physician to the principal medical establishments. The medical establishments with which I am connected, and have been for twenty-four years are, the Manchester Infirmary, Dispensary, Lunatic Hospital and Asylum, and the House of Recovery.
Question: Has that given you opportunities of observing the state of the children who are ordinarily employed in the cotton-factories.
Answer: It has.
Question: In what state of health did you find the persons employed?
Answer: They were in good health generally. I can give you particulars, if desired, of Mr. Pooley's factory. He employs 401 persons; and, of the persons examined in 1796, 22 were found to be of delicate appearances, 2 were entered as sickly, 3 in bad health, one subject to convulsions, 8 cases of scrofula: in good health, 363.
Question: Am I to understand you, from your investigations in 1796, you formed rather a favourable opinion of the health of persons employed in cotton-factories.
Question: Have you had any occasion to change that opinion since?
Answer: None whatever. They are as healthy as any other part of the working classes of the community.
Question: If children were overworked for a long period, would it, in your opinion as a medical man, affect their health so as to be visible in some way?
Answer: Unquestionably; if a child was overworked a single day, it would incapacitate him in a great measure for performing his work the next day; and if the practice was continued for a longer period, it would in a certain time destroy his health altogether.
Question: Then you are to be understood, that, from the general health among the children in the cotton-factories, you should form an opinion that they were not worked beyond their physical powers?
Answer: Certainly not.
Question: The result of your observation did not indicate any check of growth arising from their employment.
Answer: It did not.
Question: Would you permit a child of eight years old, for instance, to be kept standing for twelve hours a day?
Answer: I did not come here to answer what I would do if I had children of my own.
Question: Would it be injurious to a child, in your judgement as a medical man, if at the time he got his meals he was still kept engaged in the employment he was about?
Answer: These are questions which I find a great difficulty in answering.
Question: Who applied to you to undertake the examining of these children in Mr. Pooley's factory?
Answer: Mr. Pooley.
Question: Suppose I put this question to you. If children were employed twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen hours out of twenty-four, should you think that conducive to the health of a delicate child?
Answer: My conclusion would be this: the children I saw were all in health; if they were employed during those ten, twelve, or fourteen hours, and had the appearance of health, I should still say it was not injurious to their health.