James Heywood

James Heywood, the fifth son of the Nathaniel Heywood, the Manchester banker, was born in 1810. Educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, he married Annie Kennedy, daughter of John Kennedy, in 1853.

Heywood represented Lancashire in the House of Commons between 1831-1857. He favoured moderate extension of the vote but was against legislation on child labour. James Heywood died on 17th April, 1872.

Primary Sources

(1) James Heywood, speech, House of Commons (16th March, 1836)

This is a question in which the interests of a large portion of my constituents. If the provisions of this bill is enforced, and if all persons under eighteen years of age were prevented from working more than ten hours per day, great distress among the working classes would be the inevitable consequences. They are paid by the quantity of work done, and their wages would be diminished in proportion to the lessened time allowed them. I know the case of a single family - a father and eight children, all upwards of fourteen years of age - whose earnings were diminished by 13s. in the first week after the act of the last session came into operation. Now they had before worked thirteen hours and a half in the day, and were then reduced to twelve. Under the present bill, reducing the hours to ten, this same family would suffer a further reduction of 15s. a week.

My fear is, that, from mistaken notions of humanity, we may inflict upon the working classes a deeper wound than we propose to cure. We must remember that food and clothing are as essential to health as air and exercise; and take care that while we give the later we do not take away the former.