HC Deb 15 June 1821 vol 5 cc1192-3

The report of this bill being brought up,

Mr. Courtenay

hoped it was not proposed to revive any of the obnoxious old law with respect to whipping for Vagrancy, adding, that it was apprehended this bill would interfere with the 59th of the late king, with respect to the removal of paupers to their respective parishes.

Mr. Chetwynd

replied in the negative to the first observation of the hon. member, expressing his decided disapprobation of a practice which too often subjected paupers to harsh treatment for mere destitution. The main object of this bill was to prevent the removal of vagrants, which was calculated to have cost the country for some time back no less than 100,000l. a-year, while the practice too often presented scenes shocking to humanity and decency. To remedy these evils, it was proposed, that no vagrant should hereafter be removed as heretofore, but that where a pauper was found to be really destitute, he or she should be relieved; while, where an act of vagrancy or disorderly conduct was really committed, the offender should be punished, upon conviction, by imprisonment and labour, the prisoner to receive a portion of his earnings from such labour. There was also a clause to abolish the present system of rewards for the apprehension of vagrants, the amount and apportionment of such reward to be hereafter at the discretion of the magistracy. With regard to the second observation, the bill expressly provided not to interfere with the arrangement of the 59th of the late king, as to the passing of the poor of Ireland and Scotland, who had not committed acts of vagrancy. The report was agreed to.