The employment of children in factories also occupied the attention of Parliament at this time. A Bill had been framed in 1833 with the most benevolent intentions for the protection of factory children. The law excluded from factory labour all children under nine years of age, except in silk factories, and prohibited those under thirteen from working more than thirteen hours any one day; the maximum in silk mills alone being ten hours. The provisions of the law were, however, evaded by fraud. Children were represented as being much older than they really were, and abuses prevailed that induced Lord Ashley to bring in a Bill upon the subject. Accordingly, on the 22nd of June the noble lord moved, by way of amendment to the order of the day, the second reading of his Bill for the Better Regulation of Factories. The order of the day was carried by a majority of 119 to 111. The Bill was therefore lost by a majority of eight. On the 20th of July Lord Ashley again brought the whole matter under the consideration of the House in a speech full of painful details, and concluded by moving a resolution to the effect that the House deeply regretted that the imperfect and ineffective law for the regulation of labour in factories had been suffered to continue so long without any amendment. He was answered by the usual arguments of the Manchester school about the evils of interfering with free contract. Lord John Russell argued that, in the present condition of the manufacturing world, we could not, with restricted hours of labour, compete with other nations. A ten hours' Bill would drive the manufacturers abroad; and it would no longer be a question as to an hour or two more or less work to be performed by the children, but as to how their starvation was to be averted. On a division, the motion was lost by a majority of 121 to 106. On the 16th of August the Queen proceeded to Westminster for the purpose of proroguing Parliament.