HC Deb 18 March 1825 vol 12 cc1076-8

The House resolved itself into a committee of Supply. On the resolution, "That 1,600l. be granted, to defray the expense of the Hibernian Marine Society for the year 1825,"

Mr. Hume

objected to the principle of voting away large sums to charitable institutions in Ireland. The whole sum to which these eleemosynary grants amounted was 342,000l. He admitted that in this was included grants for the purposes of education, to the principle of which, if properly applied, he did not object; but many of the other grants ought not to be sanctioned. We had no institutions similar to some of those now before the committee; and he did not see why the public should be taxed to support, them in Ireland. Many of them ought to be reduced altogether, and others put upon a proper footing.;.

Mr. Grattan

denied that the whole amount of the grants was for charitable purposes. A great portion of them was for education, to which no objection had been made.

Sir T. Lethbridge

thought that it would be niggardly in the extreme to withhold these grants. Nothing was so important, in the present state of Ireland, as to provide permanent establishments for the education of the lower orders.

Mr. Monck

contended, that the support given by government to charitable institutions generated more mischief than it relieved. If they were to give 100,000l. for instance to the Foundling Hospital, they would do nothing more than give a bonus to incontinency, and to the propagation of illegitimate children. He was convinced that the House was proceeding in a wrong course, and that the best thing it could do would he to abandon it.

Mr. Curteis

hoped that these charitable votes, instead of being permanently fixed at their present rate, would be annually reduced.

Mr. Lockhart

objected to the principle of these charities. By increasing the number of paupers, they increased the quantum of misery already existing.

Mr. Hume

asked, if it was intended to reduce these eleemosynary grants? Within a few years, they had increased from 79,000l. to 342,000l. He protested against such an increase, without some satisfactory reason being given for it.

Mr. Goulburn

said, he would not pledge himself to any annual reduction of these grants. Sums roust of course be voted, commensurate with the necessity of the case.

Mr. C. Grant

was of opinion, that though the principle of some of these grants was objectionable, the reduction of them ought to be gradual. Amongst the grants which he considered objectionable, was that to the Protestant Charter-schools. Though they might be valuable in particular instances, in teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic, he believed that, upon the whole, they had utterly failed in training up good men, good citizens, or even good Christians. He therefore wished to see the management of them corrected, as it gave education to one class only of the king's subjects, and excluded every other. He was afraid that too many of the grants were partially and not generally applied. If the House thought proper to interfere with the cha- ritable institutions of Ireland, he trusted it would take care, first of ail, that its bounty was equally divided amongst men of all religious persuasions in Ireland; and next, that it did not collect in Dublin all the pauperism and profligacy of Ireland.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, that, before hon. members condemned these grants to the different schools and hospitals in Dublin so loudly, they ought to consider of what avail they were to that metropolis. They were most of them established before the Union, and were supported by the various noblemen and gentry who at that time were in the habit of residing part of the year in Dublin. As the Union had withdrawn from them great part of that support, the government thought themselves bound, in a certain degree, to supply it. In London these institutions abounded, but were so well supported by voluntary contributions, that it was unnecessary for government to give them any assistance. As far as any evil might arise from such a mode of expending money, it was the same whether the money came from the purse of the public, or from that of individuals. He would not withdraw these grants upon any abstract objections; because he knew that, by doing so, he should leave many persons in a state of absolute destitution.

Mr. S. Rice

contended, that the efforts made by individuals to relieve private distress in Ireland were equal to those made by any individuals in any European country. Though Ireland had no poor rates,—and long might she continue without them! —her poor were supported by dispensations of charity, which did honour to the country which bestowed them.

Mr. Grattan

supported these grants, and contended that the charities to which they were given were, in the main, excellently conducted.

Mr. Hume

complained, that the gradual reduction of these charities which had been introduced, had not been adhered to. He was convinced that these grants did more harm than good.

The resolution was agreed to.