William James

William James was M.P. for Carlisle until 1835. The following year he was elected as the representative of Cumberland East in the House of Commons. He sat for this seat until his retirement in 1847. William James died on 4th May 1861.

Primary Sources

(1) William James, speech, House of Commons (16th March, 1832)

I have no doubt that the right honourable member (Michael Sadler) is actuated by the best intentions and motives, but I think that the course which he pursues will fail in attaining the object which he has in view. Undoubtedly the system which is pursued in these manufactories relating to the working of young children is a great evil; but it appears to me that the remedy which the honourable gentleman proposes to apply is worse than the disease. There appears to me to be only a choice of evils - the children must either work or starve. If the manufacturer is prevented working his mill for more than a certain number of hours together, he will often be unable to execute the orders which he may receive, and consequently, the purchaser must go to foreign countries for a supply. The result will be that you will drive the English capitalist to foreign countries, where there is no restrictions upon the employment of labour and capital.