HC Deb 26 April 1830 vol 24 cc38-54

On the Motion of Mr. Slaney, the House resolved itself into a Committee on the Poor-Laws Amendment Bill. Mr. R. Colborne in the Chair. On putting a clause enacting that children whose parents are unable to support them may be provided for by parishes in places to be appointed,

Sir Thomas Baring

objected to this clause, stating, that it involved a question of the utmost importance, and which required the most serious consideration. He never remembered any similar clause in any former enactment, and he was afraid the Members were not aware of its import. Such a proposition had indeed been agitated in former committees, but never sanctioned, he believed, by a recommendation from them. It was one to which he never did and never would consent. It authorised the parish overseers to take away their children from the poor, and provide for them, and educate them. Good God! was it not enough that these people were poor? must the legislature also deprive them of their children? The great mass of the labouring classes were already too much degraded; and to take away their offspring from them would cut asunder all the ties which yet bound them to good behaviour, and connected them with the rest of the world. The clause was, in his opinion, so objectionable, so likely to be destructive of all good feelings in the poor, that he was bound to oppose it.

Mr. Robert Gordon

said, that he took shame to himself that he had not before made himself acquainted with the Bill. He had only read it after he had entered the House, and he must say, that he never remembered so improper an instance of legislative interference. The hon. Member who brought in the bill assumed that the poor married because they knew that their children would be provided for. He did not believe that assumption to be well founded; but if it were, he took the readiest method to encourage them to do so, for he expressly declared by this clause, that their children should be educated and provided for, though separated from themselves. The clause was not only objectionable on the score of cruelty, it was also impolitic, and would not answer the only end for which it was proposed. He should most certainly object to that clause, and unless it were omitted, he should oppose the Bill altogether.

Mr. Cripps

said, no person who was at all acquainted with the country, and with the habits and manners of the people, could support such a clause. The Gentleman who had introduced it could not, he was persuaded, know anything of the people he attempted to legislate for. He believed that it would promote early mar- riages, and make the people utterly regardless of their children. At present they did take some little care of them, and how they might provide for them was a consideration with many before they married; but if the clause were carried, they would be deprived of every motive, both for abstaining from marriage, and for taking care of their offspring. It was impossible that such a clause as that could be allowed to remain in the Bill.

Lord Althorp

only wished to explain to the Committee how the clause was introduced into the Bill. The committee which sat up stairs to make inquiries into the state of the poor, had been informed by several persons who were examined—which was indeed a well-known matter of fact—that a great many of the poor were so very badly off, that they could not provide for their own children; they were brought up therefore at the expense of the parish, either at their own homes, or in the parish workhouse. Being neglected, therefore, receiving little or no education, these children when they grew up came, in their turn, to be the parents of beings as destitute as themselves. They, therefore, perpetuated the evil of pauperism, and it was supposed by the committee, that one means, and which appeared to the committee a feasible, a proper, and, he would add, a humane means of checking that evil would be, to take the children of such parents as were quite unable to provide for them, and by educating them, raise them above the miserable condition of their parents. This was the view of the committee; in this, he must say, he saw nothing cruel, nothing deserving the censure of hon. Members. It should be always remembered that the clause applied only to those children whose parents were quite unable to provide for them.

Mr. Wilmot Horton

expressed his satisfaction that a clause of the kind under consideration had been introduced into the Bill, because it involved that great principle of population which the House must sooner or later be called on to take into consideration. He was very much obliged to his hon. friend for having introduced the clause. The question the House would have to consider would be, the relation between the capital of the country and its population; between the means of employment, and the number of labourers, with a view of making them equal, and keeping one from outgrowing the other. At present it was admitted, that the demand for labour was not equal to the supply—that the supply was in fact excessive—that population was superabundant; and it was also admitted, that as long as that superabundance continued, all the means which could be invented for improving the condition of the poor would be only palliatives, which would probably in the end render the disease more virulent. He did not know that the particular clause was otherwise worthy the attention of the House, except as it involved this great principle, but involving that, and leading the House, compelling it, in fact, to look at the source of the evil, he would give it his support. He hoped the Bill would pass.

Mr. Frankland Lewis

said, he thought Gentlemen who objected to this clause on the score of inhumanity, and who stated that it was unexampled in legislature—who, like the hon. member for Cricklade, had taken the Bill into his hands for the first time that evening, must be quite unacquainted with the fact, that the House had actually passed a bill with this clause in it, or one precisely similar in principle, in 1816. That bill was lost in another place. He did not mean, however, to state that the House, having before given its consent to such a measure, was then bound to support this clause. In fact, he could not vote for it, and he would state why: he knew that by the 43rd of Elizabeth, the overseers had the power of setting an able-bodied pauper to work, but they could not set his infant children to work; and as they were bound to give the means of supporting the children, they gave it to the father, being unable to give it to the children, so that for the maintenance of his children, though not on his own account, he did in fact obtain the money. To obviate this, it was proposed to establish institutions where pauper children were to be fed, and clothed, and educated; but he thought such a system could never be effected, because it broke through all those ties that nature imposed. It had been said, indeed, that the children of the rich were thus separated from their parents; but every one must perceive the difference between the master of an institution where the children were on principle taught to look to others than their natural protectors, and those nurses and schoolmasters whom the rich employed to bring up their children, and whose interest was most closely connected with the welfare and good condition of the children intrusted to their management. He utterly despaired of the success of any such establishment, though no one entertained a more decided conviction than he did, that the present system of Poor-laws was fraught with destruction to property. The system of retarding the increase of population was recommended, and he thought with some reason, as he especially believed, that it could not be better put into operation than when the labouring classes were not overwhelmed with active and pressing distress. The other system—that of encouraging the increase of the population—had been the favourite scheme in Mr. Pitt's time, and it was only in late years that the people had been informed that the procreation of children, without the means of supporting them, was a great evil and a great offence. He thought the best thing to adopt in the administration of the Poor-laws, would be to diminish the power of magistrates in granting relief. The reason why the Poor-laws were not so mischievously overwhelming in Scotland as in England was, that their administration was in the hands of those who provided the rates. It was from the opposite system that the payment of wages out of the rates had arisen. The interference of magistrates with the relief of the poor was only a recent practice, and at first intended to act as a check upon the expenditure of the rates; but it turned out that they were the worst instruments that could have been employed, for they confirmed and extended the evils. In his opinion, the owners of small cottages, who built them on speculation, and not the occupier, ought to be charged with the rates; they obtained the rent of these cottages from the rates. The fact was proved by a case mentioned before the Emigration Committee, from which it appeared, that the owners of these cottages were persons, who, having the management of the rates, let out the cottages to paupers, and took the amount of the rent from the sums allotted for the support of their pauper tenants. The witness who stated this fact was asked, what would happen if funds were provided to clear the parish of paupers, and he answered, that the owners would pull down the cottages, as they would not suffer the paupers of other parishes to inhabit them. Large manufacturers, who had the management of the rates, and who possessed cottages of this description, filled their manufactories with apprentices, and they furnished the means of filling the cottages with paupers. He said, that the remedy for this was to charge the landlord with rates for these cottages. He recommended the hon. Member to consider these various matters, and to revise his Bill, some of the parts of which he was willing to support.

Mr. Wodehouse

thought that the clause for separating the children from their parents, never could be carried into effect; and if it could, it would be productive of more harm than good.

Mr. Benett

, having acted as a magistrate in a large district for thirty years, begged to deny some of the statements that had just been made. With respect to the plan of bringing back the Poor-laws to the state in which they were in the reign of Elizabeth, he should approve of it if it were practicable; but he feared it was not, for the state of the country was much changed since that time. We were then an agricultural people, having no surplus labourers; now we were a manufacturing people, working by machinery, and having a large surplus population; and we were thus reduced to straits, from which we knew not how to escape, but by a better administration of the present system. An hon. Member had called some of the payments now made an assignment of wages out of the Poor-rates: he denied it. The value of labour was regulated by the proportion of the supply to the demand, and no law of this description could alter it. A pauper with several children could not support himself upon 8s. per week, and if he received only that sum in wages, he required 8s. more from the parish, to support him and his family. The hon. Member charged the giving of such a sum to a working labourer us a grievous fault committed by the magistrates of the South and West of England, and said that the parish allowance was given in aid of wages. No magistrates could compel the farmer to give a higher rate of wages to his labourer than was required by the state of the market for labour. If that were not sufficient to support the labourer, the parish was obliged to give something for the maintenance of his children, which it must support in some way or other. He did not think that there was, properly speaking, so much a superabundance of labour as a want of demand for it, arising from circumstances to which he would not further allude. But as to the payment of money to a labourer whose wages were insufficient to maintain him, he believed that custom had so established that mode of relief, that we could not now depart from it. It would be useless, as some imagined, to employ such paupers in unproductive labour to the amount of the money given them; and it would be better for all, that the labourers should be employed in productive labour, especially as the agriculturists were the class who contributed most to the Poor-rates. He did not approve of the plan of sending men abroad, for he believed that would only produce a reaction on the population. He did not think the present Bill practicable at this moment; but he believed that great good might be attained by giving a stimulus to agriculture, and by taking off those obstacles that now existed to the cultivation of waste lands. He did not agree to the plan of rating the owners instead of the occupiers of small tenements. He knew several men of property—and could name them if he pleased—who had received money from the Poor-rates under a bad system of administration; and in such men there would be no check if poorer men had no interest in keeping down the amount of the rates. He therefore thought that the occupiers of tenements, whom he had generally found punctual in their attendance at vestries, ought to pay the rates, and then they would have an interest in keeping them clown. Besides, he saw no reason why small proprietors should be liable to pay rates for their cottages, when the occupiers and not the owners of large houses and extensive properties paid the rates. On the whole, though he approved of the principle of the measure, he was obliged to dissent from many of its details.

Mr. Courtenay

was willing to assent to the Bill, provided it were accompanied with the clause recommended by the right hon. member for Ashburton (Mr. Sturges Bourne). That clause, a few years ago, had been brought forward in the shape of a separate measure, and the object of it was, to provide, instead of giving paupers increased wages when their families amounted to a certain number, that some of their children, if not wholly taken from them, should at least be supported and educated by the parish. The clause suggested did not necessarily require the separation of the parents from their children; and he thought, that not merely paupers, but persons above that rank, would consider it a boon to have their families thus taught, fed, and clothed. Supposing, however, that they were separated, the hardship, for such an object, would not be great; and many parents in this metropolis, who had sons at Christ's Hospital were content to make the sacrifice of their children's society in order that they might be well educated. The intention of the separate measure to which he had alluded was, to return as nearly as possible to the letter of the 43rd of Elizabeth, which pro- vided for setting to work children whose parents were not able to support them; and he conceived, without the clause under discussion, which was precisely similar to the principal enactment of the measure he had alluded to, the remedial part of the present Bill would be useless. It was his opinion, that the measure never could come effectually into operation without the clause, but with it, he was willing that the experiment of raising the wages of the poor should be tried. At the same time he was convinced, that the hon. Mover would be disappointed in his hopes on this part of the subject. Although he supported the Bill, he heartily joined with the hon. Baronet in a determination not to abandon the industrious poor and their families.

Mr. W. Horton

was anxious to preserve a moral check upon the poor man, in order to prevent his marrying until he was in a situation to maintain a family. At pre-sent, if a labourer married, he knew that his children must be supported by the parish, if he could not support them him- self. The principle of separating parents and children had been adopted in a clause already approved by the Committee, so that, if it were now objected to successfully, the Bill must be re-committed, in order to remedy the discrepancy. The Bill did not at all deprive the pauper of relief; it only declared that the relief should be given entirely as the parish thought fit, and not partly in a weekly allowance in money, and partly in educating and feeding his children. He was anxious that the Bill should be made prospective, and if it were rendered so he should give it his decided support.

Mr. Benett

observed, that as the law now stood, it allowed the separation of paupers and their children, for the purpose of being apprenticed by the parish; but that was quite a different thing to separat ing them for the purposes of board and education.

Mr. Slaney

said, that if he thought the effect of his Bill would be to depress instead of elevating the character of the poor of this country, he would abandon it at once and instantly. He had read every report of every committee, and every work of reputation on the subject, and founding himself upon them, he had brought forward this Bill, in the hope of remedying acknowledged and existing abuses. After investigating all parts of the question, the committee, of which he had the honour to be Chairman, had come to the almost unanimous determination, that it was necessary to face the evil and to point out a remedy. That remedy was the Bill before the House, and he had proceeded cautiously, but steadily and firmly, in endeavouring to bring it into operation. The abuses of the Poor-laws were not, as some supposed, general; they were confined very much to the south of England, for in the North they were very beneficial in their operation. In the last Session an objection had been taken by the right hon. member for Ashburton (Mr. S. Bourne), and in order to obviate that objection, certain clauses were introduced, not recommended by the committee; but on the authority of the right hon. Chairman of the Committee of 1817, who had published one of the most valuable reports ever laid upon the Table of Parliament. The object of the present Bill was, to restore some parts of the south of England to the present condition of the North, as related to the maintenance of the poor. The magistrates of the south, in the teeth of the law, and acting upon a mistaken notion of humanity and benevolence, had apportioned the relief of the poor by the price of bread, and this principle had been introduced into about sixteen or seventeen counties. The effect had been in all those situations to degrade the poor, and to render them indifferent and dependent, while in the north of England, where no such practice prevailed, they were still independent, honest, and industrious. All that he asked was, that by this Bill a wholesome uniformity might, in this respect, be established. The hon. member for Radnor (Mr. F. Lewis) had contended, indeed, that the admitted evil was so extensive, that no remedy could be applied to it; but he (Mr. Slaney) hoped that this measure, if adopted, would accomplish the change without injury or violence. By its provisions nothing was taken from the pauper. He had still his right to relief, but the form of that relief was changed. Instead of money, he was provided with work to earn it; and his children, instead of being neglected, were to be fed, clothed, and educated. He trusted that the House would at least permit the Bill to go through the present stage. The existing law took away all reason for forethought, as respected the marriages of the labouring classes, who argued thus—"If we cannot maintain our families, the rates must." Of course this feeling led to improvident marriages, to an enormous increase of the population, and to a depression of wages, with a correspondent augmentation of the poor-rates. He was happy to add, that he had received letters from various parts of the country, where attempts had been made to retrace steps hastily taken, stating, that the system had been revised, and that a beneficial change was already apparent. The hon. member for Wilts (Mr. Benett) had said, that the present was the worst time that could have been chosen for bringing in such a bill; but surely that hon. Gentleman's experience must have taught him that no course could be worse calculated to do permanent good than to resort to measures only when they were rendered necessary by the urgency of temporary pressure. The Bill had already been two years under consideration; and if adopted, it would gradually but effectually draw a broad line of distinction between labourers who married because they knew their children must be supported by the parish, and those who married with a fair prospect of being able to provide for their increasing families. He had not heard a single argument to weaken his confidence in the Bill; and he trusted that the House would not hastily and inconsiderately reject what had been founded upon the mature deliberations of no less than five different committees.

Mr. Cripps

gave the hon. Member credit for the ability and perseverance he had shown upon this subject, although he was convinced that it would be impossible to carry the Bill into effect, even if it were passed. He maintained that in Gloucestershire the magistrates had no choice but to regulate the degree of relief by the price of bread. No comparison could fairly be instituted between the South and. the North of England, inas- much as the population in the one was much less dense than in the other. He resided in a very populous county, and had means of considerable information with reference to the object of the Bill. He had given the question much attention, and the result of that was, that no enactment would be required if the 43rd of Elizabeth were acted up to. Here was a case in which they had a large body of manufacturers to provide for, who were thrown out of employment; and what could be done for them, except to afford them a parish allowance? Though making these observations, he begged not to be understood as objecting to the whole of the Bill; he wished to see the Bill divided into parts, and he should have no objection to support the latter part of it. He thought that if they went no further than to fix the rent at 10l., and made the owners of all houses let at a less sum than that, and not the occupiers, pay the rates, all would be effected that could be wished. He should be sorry to see the whole of the Bill negatived, or at least he should regret to see the latter part entirely abandoned.

Mr. Secretary Peel

said, he was sorry that there had not been a preliminary discussion—that they had not discussed the principle of the Bill before they went into committee upon it. At present, instead of paying all that attention to the clauses which it was the practice of the House to pay in committees, they had occupied themselves chiefly with discussing the principle of the Bill; thus reversing the usual course of business, by leaving to the third reading the arrangement of the clauses, and occupying the time of the Committee with that which ought to be done at the third reading. He wished, therefore, that the hon. Mover would endeavour, in the Committee, to render the Bill as perfect as possible according to his own conception, and then let it take its fate on the third reading. The hon. Gentleman had expressed his readiness to do all in his power to meet the views of Members, and so to frame or alter the Bill as to obtain general support: in doing so, he more indulged his own good nature than did what was calculated to promote the success of the Bill. He really thought that the object of the hon. Member would be best effected by making the Bill as perfect as possible, according to his own conception, and not by endeavouring to accommodate it to the fancies of every hon. Member. Though he saw much matter for serious consideration in the Bill before the Committee, yet he should be far from throwing any obstacles in the way of its passing through that stage; and he should be extremely sorry to say anything that could prejudice it on the third reading; but he must be allowed to say, that he doubted whether the hon. Member could accomplish what he had in view—namely, making the condition of the South resemble that of the North, by the introduction for a time, of an intermediate system not now in use in either. No one could doubt, that the hon. Member's object was a very laudable one; and wishing, as he did, every success to the hon. Member, still he entertained doubts with respect to the propriety of some of the details of the measure before them. He thought, in fact, that by this measure the hon. Member would introduce into the South a plan which did not exist in the North. The manner in which the reception, care, and education of children were provided for in this Bill was unknown in the North. He had his doubts with respect to the propriety of the power given by this Bill, of separating the children from their parents. In cases where the parents were persons of profligate character, the separation might be advantageous; but where the parish had provided houses for the reception of children, he was afraid this power of separating children from their parents would be exercised indiscriminately, and that the overseer would make no difference between the careless and profligate, and the industrious and affectionate parent. Overbearing necessity might justify this power of separation; but at the first blush of the question, and as a general measure, he was decidedly opposed to it. In some cases it would doubtless be consulting the morality and the interests of the children to separate them from their parents; but there were many cases in which he should be extremely sorry to see such a power exercised. He doubted, also, if it would not prove an expensive system, and he therefore entreated the Committee well to consider that point before they proceeded further with the Bill. He understood it as conferring certain powers upon the parish officers, until the practice of the South should be assimilated to that of the North—it gave them a power of founding a school, in which they could place all children on whose behalf parochial relief was demanded, from the age of seven to fourteen, and fixed it entitely under the management pf the parish officers. Whenever relief was asked for any child from the parish, he was perfectly ready to admit that from that moment the parish officers were entitled to interfere with its daily education, namely, with the education which they might receive at a day school; but beyond that, he much questioned the expediency of interference. He had had some experience on this subject in Ireland, in respect of an establishment which undertook not alone to provide for the education, but for the clothing and employment of the children committed to its care; and he must confess, that the result of that experience was by no means favourable to the practice. One of the difficulties which it presented was this, that when the children attained the age of fourteen, the managers knew not what to do with them. They might have twenty, thirty, forty children at the age of fourteen, who had received a better education, perhaps, than might have qualified them for situations merely servile; and from that, and other causes, the conductors of Charter-schools—the establishments to which he particularly alluded—had great difficulties to contend against. Those conductors stood in the place of parents, and the parents and friends of the children had a right to say, you are responsible, and not we, and to you we look for putting forward in the world those young persons, now at the age of fourteen or fifteen, of whom you have assumed the care. Then, again, another objection to the Bill was, that it conferred upon Churchwardens and Overseers powers which they would be very likely to exceed. To establish such a school as was contemplated by the Bill, invested the Churchwardens and Overseers with the power of appointing masters and mistresses, and attendants, and so conferred upon them a certain amount of patronage; for the persons employed must, of necessity, get some stipends, more or less. To such an enactment, he confessed, he could not help feeling considerable objection. This Bill would confer upon Churchwardens and Overseers the power of taking leases, making purchases, building or fitting up houses—surely such powers, were open to abuse. For these reasons, then, he thought that the Committee ought to pause before they agreed to all the clauses of the Bill. He begged not to be understood as urging these observations as objections to the Bill; he only aimed at suggesting topics which he thought were deserving of serious consideration.

Mr. Wilmot Horton

thought that many of the objections to the Bill would be obviated, if it were distinctly understood that its regulations were to be prospective. It was proposed to fill up the blank in the clause then under discussion with the words "four years," thus giving to the Overseers and Churchwardens the power objected to only over the offspring of the parties who might marry four years after the Bill was passed.

Sir T. Baring

said, that the hon. Member proposed to effect two objects by this Bill,—the one was, to raise the character of the pauper, the other to diminish the poor-rates. He thought the Bill calculated to effect neither of these objects. Was it raising the character of the pauper to insist that every man, himself and his family, should be maintained wholly by the parish if he came for relief at all? And could it be supposed that the very expensive machinery of this Bill would diminish the parish rates? He thought the Bill would degrade the pauper still farther, and increase the poor-rates.

Mr. C. Wood

said, that the Bill had been very much mistaken; and that, far from inflicting any hardship, it conferred a boon upon the poor, He looked upon it in a very different light from the hon. Baronet. By the law as it stood, the overseer might take the child of a pauper when it was nine years old and put it out as an apprentice; and all which this Bill did was to allow the overseers to take the child at an earlier period, making it, by education, more fit for the purpose of being bound to some trade.

Sir T. Fremantle

said, that the Bill did no more than make that practice legal which was at present carried on every day without law. The practice, it was said, also, would be inconvenient; but in fact it was now done without any inconvenience. In many parts of the country, as he knew the paupers were employed in gravel-pits, or at any suitable work for the joint benefit of those who were obliged to support them, and they received sufficient wages. He did not see any difference between such cases and what the hon. Member proposed to accomplish by his Bill. On the whole, he thought that the measure would be beneficial to the paupers, and though there might be some difficulties in carrying it into execution, they were not insurmountable.

Mr. Estcourt

gave the hon. Member who brought in the Bill every credit for his meritorious exertions, but he thought the hon. Member was legislating on effects, not on causes. The practice prevailing in the north might be a very good practice there, but it might be a very bad one for the south, unless the conditions of the two were the same. The hon. Member appeared to him to have lost sight of one thing: there was a manufacture at one time in the south, which was removed afterwards into the north. At that time the population of the north was small, that of the south was large. The population of the north, it was true, had increased, but so also had the manufacture; while in the south, the manufacture was lost, and the large population remained to be provided for. Under such circumstances, what could be done but to get the farmers to employ as many as they could, and make those who contributed to the rates provide for the rest. He agreed that this system had a tendency to lower the rate of wages, but what else could be done? Many other circumstances too, such as the intervention of a person between the labourer and his employer, and the law of settlement, had been overlooked by the hon. Member. He did not think the plan would answer the object proposed, and he was afraid it would entail a great increase of expense on parishes. He therefore must oppose it.

Mr. Slaney

said, that the hon. Member who spoke last had made out a strong case in favour of the Bill, by admitting that the law was deviated from in the south, and by admitting also the injurious effects of such deviation. Wherever the practice prevailed against which the Bill was directed the poor were ill off, and where it was not found they were well oft". As to the manufacture which the hon. Member said had been transferred from the south to the north; what manufacture, he would ask, had Sussex ever had? And yet Sussex was lowest in the scale. What manufacture had Kent ever had? Wiltshire, it was true, had once a manufacture, but the fact was, that the mischiefs were the greatest in districts which were, and ever had been, merely agricultural districts. Thus in the county of Sussex, exclusively an agricultural county, young men of eighteen or twenty made no scruple of marrying, and were applying for relief for their first children; and his Bill would give effectual relief by checking improvident marriages. He thanked the right hon. Secretary of State for the candid manner in which he had spoken of this Bill; and he was glad that the objections of the right hon. Gentleman were confined to one particular clause, and did not go to the principle of the measure. That clause had not been originally intended to form part of the bill, but had been adopted from another Bill, rather in the expectation of receiving the support of some hon. Members than from any very strong predilection for the clause. He would remind the right hon. Gentleman, however, that this clause was only of a temporary nature, for the persons it applied to would be gradually passing away. The right hon. Gentleman objected to the taking away children from their parents; but in fact, the measure made very little alteration in the present law in that respect. By the law at present the overseers may take the children of paupers, when nine years old, and put them to work, and afterwards put them out as apprentices. The present clause only accelerated the time at which they might be taken, fixing the period at seven years of age, with this additional difference,—that instead of being sent to work they were to be sent to school. In other respects he was glad the right hon. Gentleman admitted the principle of the Bill. His object was now to make it as perfect as he could, and he was sanguine in his expectation of being able to carry it through the House this Session. He did not hope to see it carried into a law at present, but he was anxious that it should go up for discussion to the other House; for his determination was, to persevere and bring it before Parliament from time to time, until his object should be effected.

Mr. Secretary Peel

said, the hon. Member was too hasty in supposing that he agreed with him in all the clauses of the Bill, because he did not object to them at present. He was anxious, however, to reserve any expression of opinion until he saw how the hon. Member proposed to carry his plan into effect, and he therefore hoped the Bill would go to a third reading.

Mr. Benett

said, one reason for the increase of the poor-rates in the south and west of England was, that manufactures of flannel and woollen had been all re- moved to the north. He thought, however, that the poor-rates were not an evil, and that the return of prosperity would replace them in the same condition as before.

Some verbal amendments being made on the clause empowering overseers to take the children of paupers, and Sir T. Baring having expressed his determination to oppose it altogether, the Committee divided, when there appeared: For the clause 9; Against it 91—Majority 82. The other clauses were agreed to; the Report was brought up, and ordered to be taken into further consideration on Monday.