HC Deb 15 February 1837 vol 36 cc582-5

Mr. Robert Palmer moved the second rending of the Irish and Scotch Vagrants Removal Bill. He should briefly state what the object of the measure was, which he hid obtained leave to bring in a week ago. It was merely a renewal of an Act when had been in operation for the last three years, and he should propose, in order to give hon. Members an opportunity of examining the details, that it should be committed that day se'nnight. Enormous expense had been previously imposed upon he various counties around London which were charged with the expense of passing those vagrants; and he held in his hand a list of eight or nine counties through which the great roads leading from London to Bristol and Liverpool ran, which would show the House the amount. In the county of Berks, under the former law, there had been pissed in the year 1832 no less than 4,559 persons, at an expense of 1,139l., although the county had nothing whatever to do with these paupers. In the first year after the passing of the new Act, 1834, there had been only one individual passed, at an expense of 3l. In the year 1832, 7,000 and odd persons had been passed by the county of Buckingham, and in Middlesex, in the same year, the number had been 9,576 persona, at an expense of 2,950l., while in the same county, the first year after the passing of the new Act, the number had been only 734, at a cost of 1,112l. In Middlesex, during the last two years, it appeared from the returns of the county treasurer that the numbers were in 1835, 456 persons, at a cost of 777l., and in 1836, 734, at a cost of 1,200l. It appeared, therefore, that the saving was most extensive, and he hoped the present Session would not be allowed to terminate, without a renewal of that most useful measure, otherwise the evils of the old system would be brought again into operation. He had been urged by Sir F. Roe, and other police-magistrates, to attend to the passing of the Bill, as it had been found very generally useful, and, under those circumstances, he trusted no opposition would be given, but that the House would, if they thought fit, make it a permanent measure, to save the trouble of renewing it every Session.

The Lord Advocate

was by no means hostile to the Bill, but he was quite ignorant of its details. How was it possible, he could be otherwise when the Bill was not in the hands of hon. Members? It appeared that it was against the people of Scotland its provisions were particularly directed—and how were they to become acquainted with its provisions, if it were to be hurried through the House? All he wanted was, that lime should be given to examine its details, for the people of Scotland he would contend had a right to know what the legislation of that House was, with respect to them. He suggested, therefore, that the hon. Member should postpone the second reading to a future day.

Mr. Hawes

thought, the hon. and learned Lord had assigned no good grounds for his opposition. In the borough which be had the honour to represent, it had been found very useful, and he should therefore give it his cordial support.

Mr. Young

believed, there was no real point of difference between the hon. Members on both sides of the House. As the hon. and learned Lord Advocate had no objection to the principle of the Bill, but only asked a little time, he thought there could be no objection on the part of the hon. Member for Berkshire.

Mr. Cutlar Fergusson

was quite sure there would be no real ground of opposition if time was allowed in order that the people of Scotland might examine the details of the Bill.

Sir Thomas Fremantle

hoped the House would secure the passing of the Bill during the present Session. He did not see why there should be any jealousy upon the subject among the people of Scotland, for it was not a Scotch but an English Bill. It merely provided that the Scotch and Irish vagrants should be sent hom—and the sole question was in what way the expense should be borne by the people of England. The Bill had been hitherto found to proceed remarkably well. It had been a vexata questio for many years, and been introduced as an experiment after two Committees had sat upon the subject, and no complaint had hitherto been made of its operation. He trusted the House would make it a permanent measure.

Mr. Palmer

had no wish to hurry the Bill through the House, but he was not aware that a law which had been three years in force could be unknown to the hon. and learned Member opposite. The whole the Bill did was, to alter the mode in which the expense of conveying home these paupers was levied and appropriated —so that instead of the charge being thrown upon the several counties through which they passed, it should be borne by those parishes where the parties became chargeable.

Bill read a second time.