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Mr. Thornely was cognizant of many frauds with respect to lists submitted to the committees of the House; but he had always doubted whether it was necessary to inflict the penalty of 10 per cent. on parties coming to Parliament for railway bills. He held in his hand a list of thirty. four railways in operation, twenty-four of which were at a discount, and if the shares were sold at the market price there would be a loss on them of three millions.
The Attorney-General: As to the argument that it was too late in the Session, this was the very time for revising the standing orders, that those likely to engage in such projects next Session might know the intention of Parliament, and not be sub
Mr. Easthope understood, from what had taken place in the debate, that a contemplated line of railroad from Newcastle to Edinburgh had been retarded by the standing orders, which required a deposit of 10 per cent. before the bill could be introduced to that House, and which could not be paid, owing to the poverty of the people of Scotland. The hon. Member for Honiton admitted, that the poverty of the people of Scotland was so well known and complete, that that was the reason why that railway could not be proceeded with. If that were true, he begged to ask how it was, that a large proportion of the capital embarked in railroads in this country was invested by Scotchmen, and that some of their largest subscribers were in-ject to regulations made at the commencehabitants of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aber- ment of a Session, and which must necesdeen, and the other great towns of Scot- sarily have an ex post facto operation. It land? The fact was, that this railroad, if could not be said that the orders of the forwarded at present, must be forwarded Standing Orders Committee were as irreby gamblers, who would possess no ulti- vocable as the laws of the Medes and Permate interest in the concern. The Scotch sians, and that they could not be altered were a very rich and a very wary people. on consideration. How had the regulaThey did not embark their money without tions of the other House of Parliament considering the probability of a return; been impugned, which fixed 51. as the and if they could get other people to sum? He did not dispute that when it make the first investment they would be was fixed at 21. 10s. abuses existed, but willing to permit them, knowing, that the onus lay on those who wished it to be although the undertaking might not be 107. to prove that necessary; and for that worth 100 per cent., it might be worth 70 he had heard no argument. Let it be per cent. If the House agreed to this recollected, that he did not object to demotion, railroads would again fall into the posits of 107.; he only asked that modihands of gamblers. A committee would fication which should enable parties to again be called for by the hon. Member divide this sum into two parts, one to be for Bridport, and the Attorney-general paid before the bill was introduced, and would find it his duty to prosecute those another before it came into operation. He concerned. The hon. and learned Mem- believed this would be ample security ber for the city of Dublin said he should against abuses, and that no interest in the support the motion, because he thought community need be under any apprehenthe present rule prevented the progress of sion on account of it. railways in Ireland. He put it to the knowledge and sagacity of his hon. and learned Friend, whether the carrying of the motion would answer his expectations. Persons of capital, in any country, desirous of embarking their money in such undertakings, would look to the practical result, and not be guided by the amount of deposits they might have to make, but by their expectation of an advantageous return. If the concern showed a fair prospect of success, there would be no want of subscribers to provide the necessary capital; and if not, it was not consonant with the character of the House to encourage such schemes; and he was sure it was not for the benefit of the country that they should be proceeded with,
The House divided.-Ayes 45; Noes 62: Majority 17.
List of the AYES.
Aglionby, H. A.
Hinde, J. H.
Maule, hon. F.
Morpeth, Lord Viset.
O'Connell, M. J.
O'Ferrall, R. M.
did think some alteration should be made in the bill. On the noble Lord proposing
Rutherford, rt. hon. A. Troubridge, Sir E. T. a clause, the hon. Member for Buckingham
Vigors, N. A.
List of the NOES.
Blake, W. J.
Burroughes, H. N.
Forester, hon. G.
Parker, R. T.
moved an amendment to it, thinking it was too large, which amendment was carried; but the hon. Member for Buckingham afterwards joined with the noble Lord, and threw out the clause altogether. There was great confusion in the House at the time, and it was not until some hon. Members had left the House that he was aware he had been made a teller with the hon. Member for Buckingham, otherwise he should have voted against him. However, he had this admission, that with respect to labourers married before the passing of the Poor-law Amendment Act,
Parnell, rt. hon. Sir H. great hardship existed; and the right
hon. Baronet, the Member for Pembroke, admitted, that if the Poor-law Bill was intended to be carried out, according to those orders which prevented any relief except by taking the whole family into the workhouse, it was impossible it could work. The right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, had stated that the whole ques tion had better remain over, and be con. sidered at a future time; but that with regard to labourers married before the passing of the Act, one objection to giving them relief in the manner proposed was, that so much time had elapsed since the Act passed. But that was the very reason which urged him to bring forward the subject at this time, because that argument would apply with double force if the bill were to continue for two years more without any alteration. On this subject he would refer to the evidence of Dr. Kay, whose authority the noble Lord CONTINUANCE OF THE POOR-LAW would be inclined to admit. Dr. Kay COMMISSION.] The Report on the Poor-stated, that, as workhouse schools were Law Commission Continuance Bill was brought up, and agreed to.
Hill, Lord A. M. C.
Hope, hon. C.
Freshfield, J. W.
Mr. Darby rose to move again the clause which he had proposed last week in the Committee. He trusted the House would pardon him for a few moments, while he called their attention to the circumstances under which this clause was now proposed. A clause that the guardian should have power to give relief in certain cases, was carried by a considerable majority. He had then intended to introduce the clause which he now proposed, but the noble Lord stated, that if that clause was carried he would probably abandon his bill; yet he admitted, that as the instruction had been carried by a majority, he VOL. L.
now conducted, there existed considerable difficulty in imparting to the children the elements of sound secular or religious knowledge, which might, however, be overcome by a different system of management. Dr. Kay said, in his evidence, that imprudent marriages had decreased in those districts in which this law had been brought into operation, and the noble Lord objected to his clause, that, in his opinion, it would be likely to lead to a return to the old system. He did not think the noble Lord had any right to make such an objection to his clause, because it would not encourage imprudent marriages, but only went to remove that which the noble Lord himself had admitted to be a hardship,
man's family would not be worse off because his neighbour was not placed in an equally miserable condition. Moreover, the bill they were now enacting was only a temporary measure, and the provisions of it would have passed away before it was possible that a man who had married since the Poor-law Act passed should have a very large family. He had always understood that one object of the Poor-law Act was to prevent improvident marriages, and such had certainly been the effect of it. In the evidence of Dr. Kay, as quoted by his hon. Friend behind him, it was shown that in a certain number of parishes, from which Dr. Kay had been able to procure a correct return, the marriages had decreased immediately upon the Act coming
This clause would render it necessary that | bear hard upon such persons, but it would inquiries should be instituted as to the be in appearance only, for in reality one time when the parties were married; this would necessarily lead to other inquiries, so that no relief would be administered without a previous inquiry into the circumstances of the family. Having had the admission of the noble Lord that the law, as it now stood in this respect, inflicted a hardship, and having heard the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Pembroke, admit that if this part of the law had been fully acted on in his part of the country, it would have been impracticable, he was at a loss to understand the grounds upon which his clause was opposed. The principle of the Act was to prevent persons entering into imprudent marriages, and there was nothing in the clause which he proposed, to contravene that principle. If this clause should be negatived, he sup-into operation, whereas the number had posed the noble and learned Lord would introduce his own clause, as he had admitted, that, after the decision the House had come to on this subject, something ought to be done. If the clause should be earried, the noble Lord might, perhaps, propose to put off the bill to another Session. To this he should not object, but he trusted that it would be carried. He had never made any use of this question for the purposes of agitation; on the contrary, he had always warned the working classes against such proceedings; but he thought this clause was likely to do good, by showing that the House was willing to attend to what the noble Lord himself had admitted to be a hardship. The hon. Member concluded by moving a clause to enable the guardians of the poor to give relief to widows and able-bodied men, having families, out of the workhouse, who were married before the passing of the 4 & 5 Will. 4, cap. 76.
Mr. Burroughes, in seconding the motion, said, he considered the withdrawal of all power to grant relief unless it was accompanied by the confinement of a whole family in the workhouse, pressed with peculiar hardship upon those ablebodied labourers who had large families in consequence of marriage previous to the passing of the Poor-law Amendment Act. It had been said, that if the motion of the hon. Member for East Sussex was carried, it would bear hard upon those who had married only a short time after the new Poor-law came into operation. Granted that it might do so, it might appear to
been increasing the two previous years. He did not think the lower orders were so dull of comprehension in matters that affected their own interest as might sometimes be imagined. He was well aware of the many defects that had crept into the administration of the old law, and he was far from advocating anything like a return to the old system; but he thought it was harsh to visit the sins of the system upon the heads of the unoffending victims to it, and to starve the unfortunate offspring of an improvident marriage because the parent could not bring himself to submit to the degradation of being incarcerated in a workhouse, and to suffer punishment differing but little from that inflicted upon persons convicted of crime. The motion did not call for any compulsory provisions, but simply for a discretionary power to afford relief in certain cases where the new Poor-law Act, to all intents and purposes, was an ex-post facto law. He did not wish to speak harshly or disrespectfully of the Poor-law Commissioners, but he did think that boards of guardians would exercise a sound discretion in this matter, a discretion as sound at all events as that which dictated the sending ten or a dozen peremptory orders from Somerset House to different Unions in the county which he had the honour to represent, whilst this discussion was pending in the House of Commons, some of which orders were received upon the very day that the Hon. Member for East Sussex carried his instruction to that committee in that House. Dr. Kay's evidence before the
committee last year had been before al- | opposite was aware that he was, and had luded to; in answer to question 5060 that been ever since the passing of the Act, gentleman saidchairman of one of the most extensive The board conunions in the kingdom.
"Generally, I believe that Boards of Guardians administer relief with care, and that dis-sisted of eighteen exofficial, and thirtycretion may be entrusted to them." eight elected guardians, and he believed of those gentlemen, who were well quali he was speaking the opinions of a majority
In answer to question 5061, Dr. Kay
One more question from Dr. Kay's evidence and he had done. In answer to question 4793, Dr. Kay was pleased to allude to the union with which he (Mr. Burroughes) was more immediately connected, and of which he was then chairman, and Dr. Kay called it "one of the best managed unions in the County of Norfolk." Now he thought that Dr. Kay was rather too apt to speak in the superlative degree, and as he had very much exaggerated the meaning of the words which he (Mr. Burroughes) had made use of upon that occasion, he would suppose he meant as well managed as any, rather than" best;" and when he told the House that the peremptory order of the Commissioners had never been acted upon in that union, but that the guardians had always exercised the discretionary power now asked for; he trusted that he had made out a case sufficiently strong to induce the noble Lord to consent-or at all events to induce the House to grant a continuance of that small portion of discretionary power which had hitherto been enjoyed by the union where he acted, and to enable other unions to adopt the same if they should think fit.
Mr. C. B. Hamilton trusted he should not be accused of presumption, having so lately had the honour of taking his seat in that House, if he ventured to say a very few words in support of the vote he intended to give in favour of the clause proposed by the hon. Member for East Sussex. His opinions having been recorded in favour of the New Poor-law in the 2nd volume of the Commissioners' report, he was anxious to state why he considered the clause now under consideration an improvement. The noble Lord
fied from habits of business and residence in the country, to judge of these matters, when he now recorded his own in favour of the amendment. The clause after all, did not go to say that they must give relief out of doors, but only that they might in certain cases, and where they saw the necessity, give that relief directly, which he would venture to say, in nine unions out of ten, had been given indirectly, for the last two years. If he thought, as some hon. Gentlemen did, that the adoption of the clause would annihilate the whole measure, he would not support it, but he was convinced no such result would ensue. He had ever given the Government credit for having brought in and carried out the New Poorlaw Bill in good faith, and without any reference to party feeling, or to serve party purposes; but when he admitted this, truth compelled him to add, that in his opinion there were many provisions in the bill, that pressed severely on the humbler classes. The bastardy clause, he thanked Heaven, was at an end-a measure the most unjust and ineffectual that ever was concocted-unjust to the ratepayer, and most unfair towards the fair sex. The clause, too, respecting widows, he by no means approved of, and there were many others that required amendment. On the present occasion he should content himself with supporting the clause more immediately under consideration, and in so doing, he believed that he was acting in accordance with sound policy, justice, and humanity; more particularly when the present state of the country was taken into consideration.
Lord J. Russell, considering the full discussion which this clause had formerly undergone, would advert as little as possible, to the arguments which had then been urged in its defence, and which had been fully answered. He retained all the objections which he had formerly urged against this clause. He considered it to be at variance with every other clause in the Poor-law Act. It was also a renewal of the worst part of the old system-viz.,
the allowance system. It would expose of the Commissioners, that he had every the new law to universal relaxation, and desire to abridge it: for he would tell the would, in that respect alone, be produc- noble Lord, that he had no confidence tive of the most pernicious consequences. whatever in the Poor-law Commissioners. It would create great dissatisfaction He had no doubt that they had acted from among the labourers, as it would divide the best motives; but still he could not them into two distinct classes, one of conceal his conviction, that they had not which would be entitled to relief out of the exercised their discretion soundly in the workhouse, and the other not, and that, administration, or rather in the refusal, of too, without the slightest reference either out-door relief. He complained that they to the goodness or the worthlessness of had not even acted uniformly upon their their character. It would also induce the own principles. In one district, their employers of labour to engage those who rule of refusing out-door relief, was were entitled to workhouse relief, in pre- strictly enforced in another it was not ference to those who were not-and for enforced at all. He understood that this this reason, that they might employ the want of uniformity was peculiarly visible one at 10s. a-week, and send him to the in the unions of so small a county as that parish for 4s. more, whilst they would not of Sussex. In one of the unions of that be able to get the other, without paying county, out-door relief was not allowed to him the full amount of wages. By the be given, whilst in another, not fifteen cogency of such arguments, and by the miles from it, that restriction was entirely want of uniformity thus created in the superseded. This created exactly the system of Poor-laws, the House would same jealousy among the labouring be compelled to break down by degrees all classes, which the noble Lord asserted the efficiency of the present law. With would result from the House agreeing to regard to widows, a return recently laid this clause. He was of opinion, that this on the Table distinctly proved that there clause, instead of going too far, did not was no necessity for such an enactment as go far enough. Though he would not that now proposed by the hon. Member relieve out of doors, the man who had for East Sussex. With respect to able-married since 1834, he was not therefore bodied labourers, he found, upon commu- to be precluded from relieving out of nication with the Poor-law Commission-doors, the man who had married before ers, that they had no objection to relax that time. With respect to the clause of their peremptory order wherever it should which he had himself given notice, conbe represented to them by the guardians, sidering that it had been strongly recomthat they wished to take one or more chil-mended by the committee which had sat dren of able-bodied labourers into the last year, and which had not been constiworkhouse. It would, in his opinion, be tuted in a manner very favourable to his better to take this relaxation from the views, he hoped that it would be supPoor-law Commissioners than to adopt ported by the House, and that no objecthis clause, which would be binding on tion would be made to allowing widows them as a principle of law for the Act, under certain circumstances, to be reif thus altered, would weaken the authority lieved out of doors, on very liberal prinof the Commissioners just as much as it ciples. He could assure the noble Lord, strengthened that of the boards of guar- that an enormous majority of the boards of dians. He thought that the past conduct guardians throughout the kingdom, were of the Poor-law Commissioners, had been most anxious to see the provisions of the such as ought to induce the House to New Poor-law, considerably relaxed. place every confidence in them. As the Lord Eliot said, that though he could House would of necessity have to consider not concur in the sweeping reprobation the whole of this matter again in the which his noble Friend had just cast upon course of next year, it would be unadvisa- the Poor-law Commissioners, he could ble to proceed further with this clause have wished, that they had left in the during the present Session. He should boa:ds of guardians, under the New Poorcertainly meet this clause with all the op-law, a greater discretionary power, than position in his power. that which they now allowed them to exLord G. Somerset expressed his inten-ercise. He could not give his support to tion to support the clause. So far was he the clause now proposed, as it would lead from being willing to extend the authority to great discontent in every parish, by