HC Deb 02 March 1836 vol 31 cc1161-4
Mr. Jervis

said, that as he understood opposition was to be offered to the motion which he was about to make, from quarters whence it was least to be expected, he should state shortly the nature of this Bill. The object he had in view was, to make a provision for the maintenance of the poor in extra-parochial places. The effect of the existing law being, that no overseers could be appointed for those districts, and no orders could be made upon them to support their poor, who were consequently thrown upon the adjoining parishes, without furnishing any means whatever for their maintenance; although by law extra-parochial places were liable, for such had been the construction put upon the statute of Elizabeth. Now extra-parochial places had received a great benefit under the Municipal Corporations Act, and it was unjust, that those who were to receive such advantage should not bear their share of the burthen of poor-rates. Besides which, the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Home Department, had a Bill before the House for the "Registration of Births, Marriages, and Deaths," which Act could not be carried into effect in extra-parochial places, where there were no overseers, if this Bill did not pass. But he had a stronger authority for the Bill than any consideration he could suggest. He begged to call the attention of those hon. Members who opposed it to the opinion delivered by Lord Althorp, who, when he (Mr. Jervis) proposed a clause for throwing upon extra-parochial places the maintenance of their own poor, in the Poor-Law Amendment Act, expressed himself favourable to the principle of the clause; and, though he advised him (Mr. Jervis) not to press it at that time, lest it should provoke the opposition of persons, whose interests would be affected by such a clause, to the whole Bill, stated that if he would bring the proposition forward in a separate Bill it should have his support; and in that opinion also he was supported by Lord Heatherton, then Chief Secretary for Ireland: as also by the hon. and learned Member for Huntingdon (Sir F. Pollock), who, on that occasion stated, that the principle of the measure was just, though he property suggested that some special provision should be introduced for the Inns of court. That would be matter of detail, to be considered in Committee; and he trusted, that the House would so far recognize the principle as to allow the Bill to be read a second time.

The question having been put,

Mr. Goring

said, that in his opinion, the hon. Member had no right to throw upon extra-parochial places, either belonging to the Crown or individuals, the additional burthen which the measure contemplated; and even if the principle were correct, the principle could not be worked out by the provisions of his Bill. He proposed, for instance, to enact, that "overseers should be appointed in every place according to the provisions of the Act of Elizabeth." Now those provisions were, that two church-wardens, and two or three householders might meet, and on a certain day elect overseers, whereas, in many extra-parochial places, there were not two householders resident, and in none were there churchwardens. He could not help characterizing it as a very bold piece of legislation on the part of the hon. and learned Gentleman: it was a remarkable instance of the hasty manner in which Members of his profession, just going upon the circuit too, concocted crude pieces of legislation, and he hoped the House would join in postponing the Bill at least for three weeks.

Sir Frederick Pollock

rose, not to discuss the question at length, but merely to ask whether the proposed Act would not charge Crown lands to a considerable extent?— Whether the consent of the Crown was not, therefore; necessary; and was this Bill brought forward specially that night because none of his Majesty's Ministers were present.

The Attorney-General

said, he understood the office of Woods and Forests had great difficulty with regard to the question, and wished for delay.

Sir Charles B. Vere

considered the Bill was an invasion of private property, and he trusted that, as such, the House would not come to a hasty decision upon it. He moved, that the Bill be read a second time that day six months.

Mr. Jervis

was very much surprised at the manner in which the Bill had been received from all parties. As to the observation of his hon. and learned Friend, the Attorney-General, it was true the Commissioners of Woods and Forests had expressed a wish for delay?—but when? Not till it was set down for second reading, and he then postponed it to this night for their convenience. It was true, none of his Majesty's Ministers were there; but was that his fault? particularly as he had spoken to the Chancellor of the Exchequer that night, and told him it was coming on. Besides, if the consent of the Crown were necessary, he knew enough of Parliamentary business to know, that it could be obtained any time between this and the third reading. Therefore, there was no objection on that ground to the second reading, if the House should think fit. So much for the technical objections, urged, he was sorry to say by his hon. and learned Friend, the Member for Huntingdon, who bad been so lately favourable to the principle of the Bill. He wished to ask the hon. Member for Shoreham (Mr. Goring), whether his opposition to the Bill was by desire of the Government? and if so, whether it was right that a Bill should be stopped altogether, just because the Ministers of the Crown would not take the trouble to attend in their places, to propose a clause exempting, if necessary, the Crown lands from the operation of the Bill. The hon. Member had called it a "crude" and "hasty" measure: it might be crude and hasty, but it was the very measure, in effect, approved of by Lord Althorp and Lord Hatherton (then Mr. Littleton), the only difference being, that it was now in a separate shape. He trusted the House would allow it to go to a second reading.

Lord Granville Somerset

was favourable to the principle of the measure, but must join in the opinion expressed by the hon. Member for Shoreham (Mr. Goring), of the crude state of the Bill in its present shape. He hoped the hon. and. learned Gentleman would consent to postpone it.

Mr. Aglionby

suggested to his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Jervis), whether the better way would not be to comply with the wish so generally expressed till after the Easter recess.

Mr. Jervis

consented, and asked permission of the House to let the Bill stand over to the 20th of April.

Second reading of the Bill postponed to April 20th.