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the House whether, that could be called | law Amendment Act as it had been laid an improper interference with the rate down by Lord Althorp, and it was also payers? The collectors would still be the at variance with the law of the land as servants of the overseers, to whom alone declared by the Court of Queen's Bench. they would be responsible. The guardians He should move, that the clause be would have nothing to do with the money omitted. collected, and he trusted, therefore, that after this explanation the House would not object to the clause.
Mr. H. Hinde did not object to the powers given by the clause, and his objection was to ex post facto legislation.
Mr. Grimsditch objected to this clause, because the commissioners had no power by the Poor-law Amendment Act to do what this law sanctioned and rendered legal. They had no power to issue the
could not think it was wise to legalize orders of which the House knew nothing. The hon. and learned Gentleman had said, that a collector ought to be appointed for a whole union; but how was that pos sible? The union to which he belonged contained a population of between 70,000 and 80,000 inhabitants, and how was it possible that one collector could collect the whole of the rates in a union so extensive? The fact was, that this measure was applicable entirely to some little unions in London, but it was not at all adapted to the country unions. He should certainly vote for the omission of the clause.
Mr. Wakley: After the explanation which had been given by the hon. and learned Gentleman, the Attorney-general, and seeing that the commissioners would gain nothing by the provisions of the bill, should not object to the clause.
Mr. Ewart rose to move, that this clause be omitted. The hon. and learned Gentleman had said, that even were this bill passed, the collectors would still be in the hands of the rate payers, and responsible to them, but he could not alto-orders which the clause made law, and he gether agree in that opinion. There was a great difference between an election by the body of electors, and an election by another body, interposed between the persons who ought to elect, and the person elected. If this clause were agreed to, the guarians would be interposed between the collector and the rate-pavers, and in such a case there was the greatest danger that the wishes and interests of the rate payers would not be fairly represented and attended to. Was this bill in conformity with the spirit of the Poorlaw Amendment Act? No, for it went to alter materially that Act, and those who were opposed to this measure, contended that it ought not to interfere with the spirit of the existing law-that it ought only to be declaratory, and not contrary to the principle and spirit of the Poor-law Amendment Act. Now, the House would recollect that Lord Althorp had expressly stated what he considered to be the principle of that Act, on moving its introduction. He had distinctly said, that the administrative power alone was to be placed in the hands of the commissioners, and that taxation and collection were to rest with the guardians and overseers. He would ask the House, then, Mr. Hume at first was undoubtedly opwhether this clause were not completely posed to the clause, but as he now underat variance with the principle of the Poor-stood that the noble Lord did not design law Amendment Act as laid down by to alter the present law, and that the Lord Althorp? He would ask, also, Court of Queen's Bench had put an whether it were not at variance with the erroneous interpretation upon the law in existing law? The commissioners had respect to the collection of rates, and furissued orders for the appointment of col-ther, that the object of this clause was to lectors, and their authority to do so had carry on the Act until next year, and to been questioned, and the Court of Queen's prevent litigation, he should support it. Bench had decided, that those orders were at variance with the law as it stood. But by these clauses those orders were to be declared legal, so that the bill was at variance with the principle of the Poor
Mr. G. Palmer said, this measure had not been demanded by the parishes for whose benefit it was professedly intended. It would deprive the rate-payers of all control over the parochial funds; they would likewise have no control over the appointment of their own officers. He should vote against the clause.
Lord J. Russell begged to say a few words in reference to the orders of the Poor-law commissioners, the advantage of which had been much called in question. The hon. Member had chiefly dwelt upon
what had taken place in that part of the country with which he was acquainted. In reply to his observations, he would read an extract from an assistant Poor-law commissioner in relation to Wigan :
"As far as my experience has gone, no officers could have succeeded better than those who have been appointed at Wigan, and in proof of the advantages of the change, it may be stated, that there are at present four assistant-commissioners and three assistants at 100l. a-year each. Formerly the rates were collected by thirty-four persons, receiving altogether 812., as their remuneration. Here is a saving of 112., exclusive of the other benefits of the alteration, namely, that the rates are collected with greater diligence and success, and less risk and loss incurred. The money is paid over by the assistant-overseer to the treasurer of the union every week, instead of being left, as it formerly was, in the hands of almost irresponsible and unpaid overseers; and the treasurer is always ready to make advances."
He had read this in order to correct the mistakes which seemed to prevail on subject. It was clear, that the orders of the Poor-law commissioners had tended
to the better collection of the rates.
The Committee divided on the Clause:
HOUSE OF LORDS,
Thursday, August 8, 1839.
MINUTES.] Bills. Read a third time:-Judges and Jurors (Ireland).
Petitions presented. By the Bishop of London, from South Moreton, for the Protection of the Established Church (Canada).-By Lord Ellenborough, from Paper Manufacturers of London, against the use of Stamped Paper for collecting the Postage-By the Earl of Fingall, from Roman Catholics of London, in favour of the Ministerial plan of Education.-By Lord Brougham, from Aberdeen, for a Uniform Penny Postage.
SLAVE-TRADE-ANSWER TO THE ADDRESS.] The Duke of Argyll (as Lord High Steward of the Household) announced that her Majesty had been waited on with the Address agreed to by their Lordships on Friday last (relative to the Slave-trade), and to which she had returned the following most gracious answer. The noble Duke read the Answer:
"I receive this Address with great satisfaction.
cruizers in accordance with your wishes, fully relying upon your assurance, that you will
"I will direct orders to be given to my
concur in the measures which will thus be rendered necessary."
Address and Answer to be printed and published.
SHANNON NAVIGATION.] Viscount Duncannon moved the second reading of the Shannon Navigation Bill, the object of which was, to improve the navigation of one of the finest rivers in Ireland. The whole amount that would be required to carry into effect the purposes of the bill was estimated at 580,000l., and from that outlay the most beneficial results might be confidently anticipated.
The Duke of Wellington said, this was one of those bills with which, according to the usage of that House, their Lordships could not interfere. He, however, obT.jected to the proposed issue of so large an
Rose, rt. hn. Sir G.
List of the NOES.
Wood, Colonel T.
Clause agreed to.
amount of Exchequer bills at the present moment; and it would be much better if the issue were spread over a greater portion of time. Such grants ought to be brought under the consideration of a Committee of Supply, instead of giving such powers as were recognized by this bill.
The Marquess of Lansdowne was glad to perceive that the noble Duke did not object to the principle of the bill. But the noble Duke felt some alarm at the large amount of Exchequer bills of which the bill would authorize the issue. But
he could state confidently, that it was not intended that any large proportion of that amount should be issued at once. In the course of next year not more than 60,000l. would be issued in Exchequer bills under this measure. The entire amount would be diffused over the four, five, or six years, during which the works would be in progress.
the noble Baron opposite (Lord Ellenborough) he (the Marquess of Lansdowne) did not remember. In looking for a job, the noble Baron said, the city of Limerick was benefited the most, and was called upon to pay less than any other part of the country which would be benefited by the improvement of the Shannon. Did not the noble Baron remember-for he had voted for the bill three or four years ago that the city of Limerick was at this moment under an enormous amount of local charge for the improvement of the quays from which both the parties on the Upper and Lower Shannon were now deriving great advantage, though they had not contributed at all to those erections, and therefore nothing could be more unjust thau to call upon the city of Limerick to pay anything for the
Lord Ellenborough remarked, that the entire sum was to be divided into 276 portions. Of these, six were to be borne by the county of Limerick, and only four by Limerick itself, although that city would be more benefited by the measure than all the rest of Ireland. Could this system of apportionment be defended on any principle of justice or fair play? It was the grossest job he had ever heard of. Lord Fitzgerald said, that the propor-improvement of the navigation except in tions to be advanced were to be calculated according to the amount of the sum which each county and district would be called on to reimburse. The bill was called for by an unanimous representation, not only from every county through which the Shannon passed, but from many others, He congratulated the House and the country with which he was connected, upon the general assent to the principle of the bill. The objections which had been urged by the illustrious Duke would be amply provided for by the declaration on the part of the Government, or at all events, they might be easily obviated in committee.
The Duke of Richmond was of opinion that improvements of this description should be effected through individual enterprise, or by public companies. If the principle of making a state provision for such purposes were once admitted, Scotland would make similar applications, and how could they refuse to that country what they conceded to Ireland? At the same time, he would not object to the bill, which he thought would be a great advantage to the part of Ireland for which it was intended.
The Marquess of Lansdowne, as his noble Friend had alluded to Scotland, would beg to remind the House of the case of the Caledonian Canal, where the public money had been squandered in an unjustifiable manner by the unanimous consent of both Houses of Parliament. The present bill contained the most secure provisions against any such extravagant outlay. A more unjust objection than that raised by
proportion to the share it occupied. Not the city of Limerick alone, but every county which touched the banks of the Shannon, or approached that river by canals, roads, or rivers, would derive a collateral benefit from this, which he must designate as one of the greatest plans for public improvements-combining as it did public and private resources that ever had been submitted for the adoption of Parliament; and he could not doubt but that their Lordships' sense of the justice of the case would dispose them to give a cordial and hearty assent to it.
The Earl of Ripon had read the report of the commissioners, upon which the bill was founded, and he must not only bear his testimony to the great utility of the measure, but state his conviction that the work would effect one of the greatest improvements that could be made in Ireland. It seemed, however, that under this bill half the money was to be a gift, which made him anxious that her Majesty's Government should look with greatest vigilance to the state of the Exchequer-bill market, for if they did not early redeem the Exchequer-bills, they would find themselves in a great difficulty.
The Marquess of Westmeath was afraid, that from the conversation which had taken place, it would go forth that this measure went only to improve private property. It should be remembered that the river Shannon was the property of the Crown, and that the proprietors on the banks of that river might complain of it as a nuisance, if the Government did not provide for that which it was impossible for
any private company to do--namely, to remove the natural obstructions which, from time to time, would interfere with its course, and to guard against injuries to property by the superfluous back water.
Lord Lyndhurst objected to the appointment of a new commission. There was already existing a commission under a bill passed three or four years ago for the consolidation under one board of all public works in Ireland, and he wanted to know why the proceedings for the improvement of the Shannon navigation should not be placed under that commission? It might be necessary, perhaps, to appoint a new commissioner; but that was not all that seemed to be thought necessary, for when he looked to the clause he found that not only was there to be a new commission, but that the commissioners were empowered to appoint, with the consent of the Treasury, other officers under them-to appoint an engineer, a surveyor, a secretary, and such other officers as they might think necessary, and those officers might be dismissed at the pleasure of the commissioners. Now, all that machinery existed under the present Board of Works, constituted under the provisions of the 2nd and 3rd of William 4th, the principle of whicha ct was to consolidate all such commissions and form them into one board. He believed, that the noble Viscount would find that Colonel Burgoyne, who was at the head of the Board of Works, was of opinion that the whole business of the Shannon improvement might be conducted b that board, with the addition of one more paid commissioner, and that all the subordinate officers, such as engineer, surveyor, secretary, &c., that now were officers of the existing board, were sufficient to conduct the business of this bill. He trusted the noble Viscount would take the suggestion into his consideration.
Viscount Duncannon said, that at present the Board of Works, was completely overcharged with business, and the attention of every person employed under it, was required for the matters already in hand. Colonel Burgoyne, therefore, had wished that a new commission, composed of himself, Major Jones, who was to be paid, and of Mr. Griffiths, who was unpaid, should be appointed, in order that the works in which the board was engaged might not be embarrassed.
Lord Lyndhurst repeated, that this bill
contemplated the appointment of new engineer, secretary, surveyor, and solicitor. Now, he held in his hand a copy of the letter of Colonel Burgoyne, in which that gentleman said, "It appears to me that the present commission, with Mr. Griffiths and Major Jones, would make an efficient and proper board. Of these only one, Major Jones, will require to be paid, and probably it will not be necessary to have a secretary," he said nothing of engineer, surveyor, or solicitor, but he mentioned "a secretary and some additional clerks, until a system of organization was perfected." So that, instead of all the machinery proposed by the bill, all that Colonel Burgoyne contemplated was the appointment of a secretary and some additional clerks. He (Lord Lyndhurst) apprehended it would at least be more economical to adopt the course suggested, which was consistent with the letter of Colonel Burgoyne, with which he had been furnished by consent of the Chancellor of the Exchquer.
Bill read a second time.
UNLAWFUL OATHS GOVERNMENT OF IRELAND.] Viscount Duncannon, in moving the committal of the Unlawful Oaths (Ireland) Bill, said, the subject to which the bill related had engaged for the last twenty or thirty years the attention of the Government in Ireland, and an act (50th Geo. 3rd) was passed to enable the Government to put down parties bound together by unlawful oaths in that country. That Act was amended by another statute, the 59th of Geo. 3rd, which was found, however, to be equally inefficient, and eventually a representation was made to the Government to extend the powers of another Act (4th Geo. 4th) to Ireland. That application was made to the Government in a very able dispatch of the Marquess Wellesley, which stated the matter so clearly, that he would read an extract to their Lordships. It was addressed to Sir Robert Peel, dated the 29th of January, 1823, and was as follows:
"I have not referred in this despatch to the dangerous system of associations, under the obligation of secret and mysterious oaths. Having some time since submitted to you a separate dispatch, relative to the trial and conbandmen, I added to that dispatch some obser viction of several persons denominated Ribvations, suggesting the necessity of strengthening the law of Ireland against the peril of those societies. The question of the increase
or diminution of the spirit of this association is stated differently, according to the particular views, imaginary interests, and flagrant zeal, of conflicting parties. In this contention (ludicrous in principle and theory, but mischievous to the State in practice) it is at least an advantage to the King's Government to have completely detected and publicly exposed the whole craft and mystery of the Ribband conspiracy. And I cannot believe that such an exposure, accompanied by such convictions, sentences, and punishments, should neither assuage the zeal, nor abate the bravery, of these covenanters, nor relax the holy bond of their illegal oaths, and treasonable contract. But I request your attention to the suggestions which I have submitted for the more effectual restraint of this system of mysterious engagements, (formed under the solemnity of secret oaths, binding his Majesty's liege subjects to act under authorities not known to the law, nor derived from the State, for purposes undefined; not disclosed in the first process of initiation, nor until the infatuated novice has been sworn to the vow of unlimited and lawless obedience. The vigour and activity of the law should be exerted to extirpate this mischief, which has been a main cause of the disturbances and miseries of Ireland. The mys
tery is now distinctly exposed; I, therefore, anxiously hope and trust, that his Majesty's Government will add to the various benefits which they have already imparted to this country, the inestimable favour of abolishing by law in Ireland an evil which has been abolished by law in England."
The Act in question was extended to Ireland, but still it was found very difficult to put down illegal societies, and they had engaged the attention of the Govern ment from time to time from that period up to the present moment. It had always been found extremely difficult to fix the guilt on persons who had taken unlawful oaths, although it was well known that there were such persons in many parts of Ireland. This subject had also engaged the attention of her Majesty's Government during the past year, and in consequence of information which had been received, the present bill had been prepared. He would now only allude to that part of the bill relating to the use and possession of pass-words, for the purpose of stating that he hoped to meet an objection which had been started by a noble Lord opposite by inserting the words "without lawful excuse." The object of the bill was to discover and punish those who used passwords, and it was necessary that the law should be severe, or the suppression of these illegal societies could not be effected,
Lord Wharncliffe said, it was very far from his intention to do anything to defeat the object of the bill, but he wished to draw the attention of their Lordships to some facts in connection with this question. The Government seemed to think it necessary to do something more than the present laws could do in order to reach what he could not but consider a dangerous system of conspiracy prevailing in Ireland. But why had nothing been done before? It appeared that on Monday, the 15th of July, this bill was brought into the House of Commons by the Solicitor-general for Ireland, and it was possible that a notice of it might have been given on the previous Friday. The bill was presented and read a first time on the 16th of July, and read a second time on the 18th, after 12 o'clock at night; on the 19th it was considered in committee after 12 o'clock, and reported on the following day; and on Monday, the 22nd, it was read a third time and passed, without any debate whatever, being the last day on which their Lordships' committee sat for hearing levidence on the state of crime in Ireland. He thought, that he had a right to complain of the late production of this bill. It was true, that every one of the practical characteristics of Ribbandism was made clear by the bill, and subjected to transportation; and it could not but be admitted that Lord Wellesley's letter must have furnished some grounds for its provisions. But the Government had done nothing year after year, though it had been repeatedly twitted in both Houses of Parliament with neglecting to suppress these mischiefs until after the committee, whose report was now before their Lordships, had commenced sitting and hearing evidence. If no other good should result from the appointment of that committee he must say that this circumstance alone was a proof of its utility. Their Lordships were well aware that great anxiety for an inquiry into the state of Ireland had existed for some years amongst the gentry of that country; but it was found impossible to obtain it in the other House least such an inquiry as would clearly and satisfactorily ascertain what was truth and what falsehood. His noble Friend (Lord Roden) having over and over again called the attention of the Government to the subject, at last determined to take the vote of the House, as to whether the gentlemen of Ireland having made repeated