§ MR. MACDONALD
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, If the deplorable condition of the children belonging to boatmen and others, that may be called "our floating population," has been brought under his attention, and if he intends to recommend to Her Majesty the desirability of appointing a Royal Commission to inquire into the social habits and the educational condition of that portion of the community?
MR. ASSHETON CROSS
, in reply, said, that his attention had been directed to what was called "our floating population"—people employed in barges throughout the country. At the last Census, in 1871, the number of such persons was returned as 29,500, and of that number 10,576 were actually on board the barges on the day when the Census was taken. It had been found very difficult to get hold of the children belonging to those persons to send them to school. He had, however, put himself in communication with the Education Department on the matter. The London School Board were prosecuting an inquiry, and endeavouring to find some means by which the children might be reached, and therefore he thought it would be unwise to appoint a Royal Commission until the result of that inquiry was known.