HC Deb 05 August 1833 vol 20 cc356-9

Sir Charles Burrell moved the second reading of the Labour Rate Bill.

Mr. Charles Buller

opposed it, as a measure which was calculated to do more injury than good to the agricultural labourer. Me moved as an Amendment, that it be read a second time that day three months.

Lord Althorp

had before consented to a similar Bill for a short time, in the hope that in the interim some more general measure might be adopted, and he now gave his assent to the present, in the same hope, that before its expiration, Parliament might have time to pass a more general measure on the Poor-laws. He looked upon this merely as a temporary measure, and not as one which he should wish to sec the general law of the land. It had done some good in places since it had been in operation; but he admitted, that it was only a palliative of an evil which it could not permanently remedy.

Sir Robert Inglis

said, that the speech of the noble Lord was one of the most un- statesmanlike he had ever heard. He admitted a given quantity of evil because that evil was to be only temporary; but if the Bill was calculated to do good, it ought to be general; and if it only afforded a temporary remedy to an evil, some more general measure should be applied. He did not think, that it would produce the good expected from it. The principle of the Bill had gone through many editions since it was first introduced by Lord Nugent, in 1830; but he did not think it had been so improved as to entitle it to the adoption of the House.

Mr. Ord

opposed the Bill. He lived in an agricultural district, and had not found it work well. He objected to it on the ground, that it was one of those palliatives which, in the result, would do more harm than good. He hoped, therefore, it would not be pressed.

Mr. Strutt

said, though it might relieve for a time the distress to which it was to be applied, it would, in the result, aggravate that distress by destroying the independence of the labourer.

Mr. Evelyn Denison

supported the Bill from the experience he had had of its operation in several districts to which it had been applied, and hoped that it might be allowed to pass.

Mr. Poulett Thomson

thought the Bill bad in principle and bad in operation. It was one of those instances of legislation in which, though the benevolent intentions of the parties introducing it must be admitted, he thought the House ought not to concur, seeing that it could tend to no practical result. The present was not a mere re enactment of the former Bill, it went to extend the principle of that Bill, and as he denied that principle, as he did not think it right in theory or practice, and, moreover, as it tended to destroy the independence of the labourer, he should give it his opposition.

Mr. Halcombe

said, that if the matter were res integra, he might look at it differently, but, as they had only a choice of evils, he would agree to the present measure as affording a remedy for those evils for at least a short time, and until some general measure was adopted.

Sir Harry Verney

supported the measure as one which had worked well in many parishes in Buckinghamshire, and so much satisfaction had it given, that the decision of the House respecting it was anxiously looked for by many parishes. It should be recollected, that it was wholly optional, and if the parishioners desired it, they were not bound to adopt it, but if adopted by one part of them it might be set aside by appeal to the Quarter Sessions.

Mr. Marryatt

admitted, that in principle it was as wrong to interfere between the farmer and the labourer as it would be to say to a manufacturer how many men he should employ. The Bill was, however, to be defended only as a temporary palliative to an evil to which he should hope to see a more general and permanent remedy applied.

Mr. Poulett Scrope

objected to the Bill, as one by which the large farmer and landholder might be enabled to throw upon the small farms and the shopkeepers those labourers for whom they themselves had no employment. What could a poor shop keeper and a poor widow lady do with three labourers who might be thus thrown upon them for support?

Sir Charles Burrell

, in reply, said, that in those parishes in which the Bill had been carried into operation it had given great satisfaction to all parties. He had never urged it other than as a temporary measure, to be applied only until some general measure should be adopted.

The House divided on the question, that the Bill be then read a second time—Ayes 17; Noes 29: Majority 12.

List of the AYES.
Althorp, Viscount Rickford, W.
Bulteel, J. C. Shaw, N.
Denison, W. J. Smith, V.
Duffield, T. Tollemache, A. G.
Forster, C. L. Tracey, H.
Goring, H. D. Tyrell, C.
Halcombe, J. Willough by, Sir H.
Hughes, H. TELLERS.
Plumptre, J. P. Burrell, Sir C.
Poyntz, W. S. Verney, Sir H.
List of the NOES.
Aglionby, H. A. Parker, J.
Blake, M. Parrott, J.
Briggs, R. Romilly, J.
Brotherton, J. Ruthven, E.
Campbell, Sir J. Scrope, P.
Childers, J. W. Shaw, F.
Divett, E. Strutt, E.
Dykes, F. L. B. Sullivan, R.
Ewart, W. Thomson, C. P.
Hall, B. Tooke, W.
Hawkins, J. H. Tynte, C. J. K.
Hume, J. Warburton, H.
Knapp, H. R. Williams, Colonel
Marshall, J. TELLERS.
Molyneux, Lord Inglis, Sir R.
Ord, W. H. Buller, C.