§ The Chancellor of the Exchequer
in moving the Order of the Day for going into Committee on the Irish Poor-law Bill, wished to ask the hon. Member for Monaghan to postpone his motion for an instruction to the Committee to introduce a provision for settlement. He thought, according to the rule of the House, the hon. Member had not the power to raise, by way of instruction to the Committee, any question of the kind before going into Committee. If this question might be entertained now, it was quite clear that they might add to it a discussion on the principle of the bill, and on all the separate clauses. He believed that the authority of the Speaker in more than one case was against the course proposed to be pursued by the hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. Lucas
said, it was by no means his wish to do anything contrary to the past practice of the House, or to take precedence against the convenience of any hon. Member who was entitled to address the House first. His reason for moving this question in the form of an instruction to the Committee was, that when the House went into Committee on the English Poor-law Bill, they found themselves entangled at every (Step by this very question, and therefore he had proposed, for the sake of promoting the convenience of the House, that it should be discussed as a preliminary measure. He was in the hands of the House, but he thought he should be allowed to proceed with his motion.
§ Mr. F. French
was of opinion, the question as to the law of settlement, proposed to be raised by the hon. Member for Monaghan ought to be decided and disposed of before the bill was proceeded with in Committee.
observed, that at present there was no settlement clause of any kind in the bill. Now, settlements might either be in unions, or local, or in townlands, or parochial, or national. Any of these would come within the meaning of the bill. It seemed to him, therefore, it would be best not only to decide whether or not there should be any law of settlement embodied in the bill, but also that a particular and specific law of settlement should be determined upon.
§ Sir E. Sugden
concurred in the view suggested by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin. Until the question of settlement was decided, it was impossible to say what the bill would be. If the House should determine there should be a law of settlement, then he, for one, should give a right to relief; if not, he should support the bill as it now stood.
§ Sir R. Peel
thought, that the question of settlement involved so important a principle, that it ought to be discussed in a different manner from that in which discussions were usually carried on in Committee, but, at the same time he doubted whether by taking it otherwise than in Committee, there would not be great difficulty in pronouncing an opinion that there should be any law of settlement until the details of that law and the mode in which it was to be executed were known. Now, in Committee it would be possible to afford an explanation of those details 1231 from his hon. Friend, the Member for Monaghan, than whom no man was more able to discuss this question. He therefore thought, that it would be not only more in accordance with the rules of the House, but would be manifestly more advantageous, to have the discussion in Committee.
§ Mr. Lucas, to meet the convenience of the House, would raise the discussion of the law of settlement in the Committee.
§ Mr. T. Attwood
said, before the House went into Committee, he wished to say a few words upon the bill. He was as friendly to Poor-laws as any man, but he could regard this measure only as cruel to the paupers, unjust to the tenantry, and as a delusion on the people of Ireland. He denied that Ireland was too poor for Poor-laws, for he was of opinion that the Irish nobility and gentry, who now spent their wealth in foreign countries, could easily maintain their poor as paupers or as labourers. He would take the liberty of suggesting two or three measures which he thought would really be useful to the Irish people. The first was the abolition of the unjust standard of value which now pressed with so cruel and so fraudulent a hand upon the Irish tenantry. Then, another measure he would recommend was, to arrest the arbitrary power of the landowners, over the land, the arbitrary and tyrannical powers exercised by the Irish landlords over their tenantry, and he would take possession of every acre of uncultivated land in Ireland in all cases where the owner refused to bring it into cultivation. This had been done in France, and there would be no difficulty in doing the same most beneficially in Ireland, if the Legislature would only do justice to the people, as against the selfish and sordid feelings of the aristocracy of Ireland. These, together with the reclamation of land by the drainage of bogs to be sold to the labourers at a seven years' credit, would make them in the end, happy, prosperous, and independent proprietors, and would change the whole face of Ireland, agricultural, political, and social. Then, after having established a just currency, a just tenure of lands, and the means of locating by the reclamation of land, a million of families, it would be right, with great propriety, to introduce into Ireland, just, efficient benevolent, and humane Poor-laws. There was one other suggestion, and only one other, 1232 which he had to offer. A few years ago, he had voted away 20,000,000l. for the emancipation of the negroes, of whom there were but 800,000. Now, he would be ready to vote another 20,000,000l. for the negroes of Ireland, who were ten times worse off, ten times more wretched, than the negroes of Jamaica; and, if necessary he would even consent to a vote of 100,000,000l. It would be only an additional 20,000,000l. to the debt. The man would be wild and fit for Bedlam who thought of paying the 800,000,000l. in standard gold. Why not, then, go on, and even make it 1,600,000,000l. were it necessary to relieve the whites—he would not call them the white negroes, because that would be too Irish, but the white slaves of Ireland? Let them be generous and give 5l. to one Irish labourer, 20l. to another and 50l. to a third. If they would lend 20,000,000l. to the Irish people, he had no doubt that it would be a considerable relief. He threw out these humble suggestions the result of much reflection, for the consideration of the House. He was sure that the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, would not deny that his propositions would, if carried into effect, work much good for the people of Ireland. He would not deny that an alteration in the currency would benefit the Irish people, or that the draining of the bogs, the establishment of the Jersey tenure of land, a just Poor-law, and the loan of 20,000,000l., would materially better their condition. In the space of five years, these measures would effect a great and most desirable change in the present and permanent state of Ireland, both in a moral, a social, and a political point of view.
§ The House went into Committee.
§ On the 16th clause, relating to the dissolution and alteration of unions,
proposed to insert, "that it shall be lawful for the Commissioners from time to time, as they may think fit, with the assent of the major part of the guardians, for the time being, to declare any such union to be dissolved, or any townland or townlands to be added to or separated from any such union."
§ Mr. P. Scrope
objected to the amendment suggested by the hon. and learned Gentleman, on the ground that great inconvenience had been experienced in England in consequence of such a restriction being imposed on the Commissioners.
observed, he had no doubt that the Poor-law Commissioners thought that any authority possessed by any other persons than themselves was not rightly vested. But although he imagined that they were not afflicted with any overpowering sense of diffidence or overweaning modesty, it was just possible that they might conceive themselves not to be infallible, and he thought that they would be more likely to give satisfaction if their decisions were ratified by the authority of the board of guardians.
§ Viscount Howick
thought, the hon. and learned Gentleman was not just towards the Commissioners, in supposing that they desired to claim for themselves any superiority. An instance had been afforded in the working of the English Poor-law Bill of the inconvenience arising from the power vested in the board of guardians to control or neutralise the determination of the Commissioners in respect to the formation or alteration of the unions. The case was this:—At the time that a certain union was formed, some three or four small parishes would have been included in it by the Commissioners, had not some strong objections been urged against it by the owners of the property in those parishes. In consequence of those objections, the parishes were (contrary to the judgment of the Commissioners) included in another union. At a subsequent period, the inhabitants of those particular parishes, and the owners of the property in them, changed their minds, and were desirous of being included in the union to which the Commissioners, in the first instance, were about to connect them, and would have done so if no objection had been raised. Upon this change of opinion being signified, the Commissioners were about to alter the constitution of the two unions, by taking from the one the three or four parishes which had been improperly included in it, and joining them to the other with which they ought at first to have been united. But the guardians of the union to which these parishes now belonged objected, and the consequence was, that the alteration could not take place. The ground of the objection by the guardians was, that those particular parishes contributed towards the general expense of the union, and if they were to be taken away a greater portion of the expense would devolve on the remaining parishes constituting that union, so that, 1234 for the sake of a trifling extra expense, this improvement was resisted by the guardians.
§ Viscount Clements
thought, that the Commissioners might be desirous to give a greater permanence to the unions than they ought to have. Unions might be formed most conveniently for all parties at the present time, but which twenty years hence might be found to be very inconvenient. He was anxious, therefore, that the power of the Commissioners in this respect should be limited. He had no objection to giving full powers to the Commissioners in cases in which they acted judicially between party and party, but he was opposed to giving them power to act independently of other parties.
§ Mr. F. French
thought, that the case stated by the noble Lord below him (Lord Howick) was no answer to the amendment proposed by Mr. O'Connell. According to the noble Lord's statement, the union which included the three or four parishes that were considered to have been improperly made a portion of that union was obliged, in consequence of those parishes being so included, to build a larger workhouse than would otherwise have been necessary. There was nothing unreasonable, therefore, in the board of guardians objecting to those parishes being taken from the union. They were justified in saying to the Commissioners, "True it is you, in the first instance, did wrong in joining those parishes with us, but since you have done so an extra expense has been occasioned by it, and, therefore, although we think you were originally wrong, yet we are not now disposed to allow those parishes, to be taken out of the union, and thus impose on the other parishes a proportionally greater burthen."
§ Mr. J. Grattan
did not see any force in the argument of his hon. Friend in reference to the present measure. There was no analogy between the law as applying to England and as applying to Ireland. In England, the Poor-law unions were formed of several small parishes, and the union of these parishes might be more or less convenient, according to circumstances; but in Ireland, the unions, as they were called, would consist of districts into which the whole of Ireland was to be divided. It would behove the Commissioners to be cautious how they formed these districts, but having 1235 once formed them, he hoped they would be considered final.
§ Mr. W. S. O'Brien
was of opinion, that the guardians ought to have a voice before any alteration was allowed to be made by the Commissioners in unions that have been already established.
§ Sir Edward Sugden
could not vote for the amendment, because he did not know in what way it would operate. He was favourable to some restriction being imposed on the Commissioners; and what he conceived would be the better course was, that the proposition of the Commissioners should be referred to the board of guardians, who should have the power of negativing it.
Sir R. Ferguson
believed, that the best source of information which could be offered to guide the Commissioners in their decision would be found to emanate from the guardians, to whom some control over the unions ought to be confided.
§ Sir W. Somerville
concurred in the opinion expressed by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, and would support his amendment. He thought it desirable to conciliate the people of Ireland as much as possible by means of this measure, and could see nothing unreasonable in allowing the board of guardians to possess this control.
§ Viscount Morpeth
said, that although the evidence laid before him was strongly in favour of the clause as it stood, yet so strong an opinion had been expressed by many of the Irish Members, he was not indisposed to consent to an amendment like that of the hon. Member for Dublin.
§ Agreed to.
§ Upon Clause 18, providing for the division of the unions into electoral districts for the election of guardians,
§ Mr. Goulburn
observed, that he found considerable difficulty in acquiescing in this clause, which would enable the Commissioners to make a new division of the country, abolishing the existing and well-known divisions. It would, besides, impose an immense additional labour on the Poor-law Commissioners.
§ The Chancellor of the Exchequer
said, that the clause merely gave the Commissioners the power of making these new subdivisions in the event of their being found necessary, relation being always had to the existing divisions, where they could be ascertained without difficulty. The same plan had been adopted with 1236 advantage in his own county (Limerick) with regard to the distribution of petit sessions.
found the claim liable to the same objection which he had taken to Clause 16, and proposed amending it in a similar manner by inserting the words— "with the consent of the majority of the guardians."
§ Viscount Morpeth
supported the clause as it stood. The former clause was for an extension or alteration of the unions; the present clause was merely for arranging the election of the guardians within each.
§ The Committee divided on the amendment:—Ayes 47; Noes 84: Majority 37.
|List of the AYES.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Hollond, R.|
|Aglionby, Major||Hume, J.|
|Archbold, R.||Jephson, C. D. O.|
|Attwood, T.||Jones, W.|
|Beamish, F. B.||Kemble, H.|
|Bellew, R. M.||Logan, H.|
|Bodkin, J. J.||Master, T. W. C.|
|Brabazon, Sir W.||Maxwell, H.|
|Bridgeman, H.||Moneypenny, T. G.|
|Brotherton, J.||Nagle, Sir It.|
|Butler, hon. Colonel||O'Conor, Don|
|Chapman, Sir M. L C.||Power, J.|
|Chester, H.||Redington, T. N.|
|Clements, Viscount||Rolleston, L.|
|Corry, hon. H.||Scholefield, J.|
|Curry, W.||Somerville, Sir W. M.|
|Darby, G.||Vigors, N. A.|
|Easthope, J.||Vivian, J. E.|
|Farnham, E. B.||Wakley, T.|
|Fitzsimon, N.||Westenra, hon. H. R.|
|Grattan, H.||Yates, J. A.|
|Grimsditch, T.||Young, J.|
|Hayes, Sir E.||O'Connell, D.|
|Hindley, C.||O'Brien, W. S.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Acland, T. D.||Campbell, Sir J.|
|Adare, Viscount||Cave, R. O.|
|Bagge, W.||Chalmers, P.|
|Bailey, J.||Chetwynd, Major|
|Baker, E.||Chute, W. L. W.|
|Barnard, E. G.||Cole, hon. A. H.|
|Barrington, Viscount||Cole, Lord Viscount|
|Barron, H. W.||Conolly, E.|
|Barry, G. S.||Ellis, J.|
|Bateman, J.||Erle, W.|
|Bentinck, Lord G.||Fergusson, rt. hon. C.|
|Bewes, T.||Forbes, W.|
|Blair, J.||French, F.|
|Blake, M. J.||Gordon, R.|
|Blake, W. J.||Goulburn, rt. hon. H.|
|Briscoe, J, I.||Grattan, J.|
|Buller, C.||Grosvenor, Lord R.|
|Busfield, W.||Hodges, T. L.|
|Hodgson, R.||Round, C. G.|
|Howard, P. H.||Rundle, J.|
|Howick, Viscount||Scarlett, hon. R.|
|Hughes, W. B.||Scrope, G. P.|
|Hutton, R.||Shaw, rt. hon. F.|
|Irving, J.||Sheppard, T.|
|Knatchbull, rt. hon. Sir E.||Smith, R. V.|
|Knight, H. G.||Strickland, Sir G.|
|Lister, E. C.||Style, Sir C.|
|Litton, E.||Sugden, rt. hon. Sir E.|
|Macleod, R.||Talbot, C. R. M.|
|Marsland, H.||Thomson, rt. hon. C.P.|
|Morpeth, Viscount||Thompson, Ald.|
|Morris, D.||Thornhill, G.|
|Murray, rt. hon. J. A.||Turner, E.|
|Northland, Viscount||Villiers, C. P.|
|Packe, C. W.||White, A.|
|Parker, J.||Williams, T. P.|
|Parnell, rt. hon. Sir H.||Winnington, T. E.|
|Parrott, J.||Wodehouse, E.|
|Pease, J.||Wood, G.|
|Perceval, Colonel||Wrightson, W. B.|
|Ponsonby, hon. J.||TELLERS.|
|Pryme, G.||Ferguson, Sir R.|
|Pusey, P.||Solicitor-General, the|
§ Clause agreed to.
§ On Clause 19,
§ Mr. O'Connell moved the omission of the proviso, that no person being in holy orders, or being a regular minister of any religious denomination, should be eligible as a guardian. In the English Act, there was no such proviso as this, which was founded upon a total ignorance of the state of Ireland. It was not at all an untried question, for in all charitable institutions in Ireland, and there were many of them, particularly in Dublin, clergymen of every denomination had met as guardians and directors without giving rise to the slightest jealousy or dissension, or exciting the least rivalry, unless it might be to see which of them acted most consistently with their sacred calling. He therefore, moved the omission of this proviso, as he conceived it to be a stigma upon the clergy of Ireland.
§ Mr. Lucas
could not agree with the hon. and learned Gentleman, that this proviso, in any manner, cast a stigma upon the clergy of Ireland. There was, no doubt, that clergymen of all persuasions were in the habit of meeting on terms of the most perfect unanimity where charity was the object. That he readily admitted, and it was not through the fear of any change in that respect that he opposed the hon. and learned Gentleman's amendment, but because he did not think that clergymen, consistently with their clerical duties, could attend to those of 1238 guardian, which were extremely burthensome, and occupied a great deal of time; so much indeed, that it was deemed necessary to make a provision in the bill then before the House for paying guardians, in case a sufficiency of persons could not be found willing to become guardians gratuitously. There was a great complaint already amongst clergymen of the Established Church, that they could not find time for the instruction of children of their own persuasion, in consequence of their other duties being so burthensome. He was inclined to think that the clergy of every other persuasion in Ireland were similarly circumstanced, that was to say, that although they could occasionally devote a portion of their time to purposes of charity, they could not undertake to attend to the heavy duties connected with the guardianship of the poor.
§ Colonel Conolly
opposed the amendment. He was averse to the interference of clergymen in other than spiritual concerns, and would not besides, in reference to this measure, run the risk of having any difference of opinion between clergymen of different persuasions acting in the capacity of guardians.
§ Mr. D. O'Conor
was understood to support the amendment, which he would not-do if he conceived it would have the effect of creating any hostile divisions.
§ Mr. Shaw
readily bore testimony to the perfect unanimity which prevailed in Ireland amongst all classes of the clergy, when charity and benevolence were to be practised, but at the same time concurred in the objection urged by the hon. Member for Monaghan, against the omission of this proviso. But that was not his (Mr. Shaw's) greatest objection. He felt that there was a system of elections connected with this Bill which might give rise to bickerings, and hostilities, and party feelings, from which clergymen could not be too remote. He moreover coincided in the opinion of, he believed, Mr. Senior, that there would be a jealousy excited on the part of the Irish landlords if their property was to be taxed by clergymen of a different persuasion from themselves, and a feeling that there was a hostility against them and in favour of the poorer classes. The opinion to which he referred was, as well as he recollected, that if relief were given to the able-bodied in Ireland, it would come in the end to the doling out of the property of the 1239 Protestant gentry by the Catholic priesthood. He did not mean to say, that that opinion was correct, but he wished to avoid the possibility of such a thing being even imagined.
§ Sir M. L. Chapman
said, that he knew the sentiments of the clergy pretty generally upon this subject, and he took upon himself to say, that they were, as might naturally be expected, fully alive to the odium of resisting those applications for relief, to which, if they filled the office of guardians of the poor they must necessarily be open. He thought the proper position of the clergy to be that of the advocates of the poor before the board of guardians; that they, not being members of that body, should, when fitting occasions presented themselves, make strong representations and remonstrances on behalf of any poor in their respective neighbourhoods who might have just cause of complaint.
§ Mr. Goulburn
said, he should support the clause, considering that it would be much better for the clergy to keep free from the responsibilities which necessarily attached to those duties that guardians of the poor had to perform. He acted upon that principle as regarded his own Church, and he certainly thought he had a right to do so as regarded every other.
§ Viscount Morpeth
thought, there was a very general feeling of repugnance entertained towards any plan that would include clergy of any denomination in the board of guardians, but he likewise thought, that that repugnance did not exist amongst themselves, on the contrary, was prevalent chiefly amongst the laity. He did not, however, overlook the fact, that the clergy had in Ireland frequently acted together with perfect concord in promoting objects of charity; but the House, he had no doubt, would see a wide distinction between relief that was compulsory and perpetual, and that which was merely voluntary and occasional. He requested the Committee to recollect, that the board of guardians would have the power of appointing a chaplain to the workhouse, and he thought, that that of itself formed a sufficient objection to there being clerical Members on the board. It was his opinion that the clergy should neither be members nor agents of the board, but mediators between them and the poor.
observed, that there was nothing in the Bill which went to compel the clergy to accept the office of guardians. If the proposed alteration were effected in this clause, the clergy might, if elected, take the office or not.
§ Mr. Poulett Thomson
expressed his belief, that the proviso contained an enactment which was most useful, and that it ought not to be expunged from the Bill, The rendering clergymen eligible to act as guardians, independently of all other considerations, would produce agitation and feuds among them at the elections not at all consistent with their duties and the character of their office.
§ Mr. Wyse
suggested, if the elegibility of clergymen should be admitted, there might be a certain number (one or two) connected with each denomination, ex officio members of the board, to serve as the organs of communication between their flocks on the one side, and the country and representatives of the people on the other. He objected, however to the amendment of the hon. and learned Gentleman, and would much rather support the proviso as it stood in the Bill.
§ Sir F. Trench
thought, there was a wide difference between calling on the clergy to act in the administration of charity and the imposition of a tax. As the latter was the case contemplated by the amendment of the hon. and learned Gentleman, he should object to placing them in so invidious a situation.
§ The Committee divided on the clause:— Ayes 107; Noes 30: Majority 77.
|List of the AYES.|
|Acland, T. D.||Briscoe, J. I.|
|Adare, Viscount||Brocklehurst, J.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Brodie, W. B.|
|Bagge, W.||Brotherton, J.|
|Baker, E.||Bruges, W. H. L.|
|Barnard, E. G.||Busfield, W.|
|Barron, H. W.||Campbell, Sir J.|
|Bateman, J.||Chapman, Sir M. C. L.|
|Beamish, F. B.||Chute, W. L. W.|
|Bennett, J.||Clements, Viscount|
|Berkeley, hon. H.||Cole, hon. A. H.|
|Bewes, T.||Cole, Viscount|
|Blake, M. J.||Conolly, E.|
|Blake, W. J.||Corry, hon. H.|
|Cripps, J.||Murray, rt. hon. J. A.|
|Crompton, S.||Northland, Viscount|
|Curry, W.||Parnell, rt. hn. Sir H.|
|Darby, G.||Parrott, J.|
|Davies, Colonel||Perceval, Colonel|
|Douglas, Sir C. E.||Philips, G. R.|
|Ellis, J.||Pryme, G.|
|Fergusson, rt. hon. C.||Pusey, P.|
|Finch, F.||Rice, E. R.|
|Forbes, W.||Rickford, W.|
|Goulburn, rt. hon. H.||Round, C. G.|
|Grattan, J.||Rundle, J.|
|Greenaway, C.||Scarlett, hon. R.|
|Grimsditch, T.||Scrope, G. P.|
|Harland, W. C.||Seale, Colonel|
|Hawkes, T.||Shaw, right hon. F.|
|Hayes, Sir E.||Shirley, E. J.|
|Hodges, T. L.||Stuart, V.|
|Hodgson, R.||Strutt, E.|
|Hollond, R.||Sugden, rt. hn. Sir E.|
|Houstoun, G.||Thomson, rt. hn. C. P.|
|Howick, Viscount||Thornley, T.|
|Hughes, W. B.||Trench, Sir F.|
|Hume, J.||Turner, E.|
|Hutton, R.||Turner, W.|
|Jephson, C. D. O.||Villiers, C. P.|
|Jones, T.||Vivian, J. E.|
|Kemble, H.||Wakley, T.|
|Knatchbull, hn. Sir E.||Walker, C. A.|
|Knight, H. G.||White, L.|
|Lister, E. C.||Wilberforce, W.|
|Litton, E.||Wilshere, W.|
|Lockhart, A. M.||Winnington, T. E.|
|Lucas, E.||Wood, G. W.|
|Manners, Lord C. S.||Woulfe, Serjeant|
|Marshall, W.||Wrightson, W. B.|
|Master, W. C.||Wyse, T.|
|Maxwell, H.||Young, J.|
|Monypenny, T. G.||TELLERS.|
|Morpeth, Viscount||Parker, J.|
|Morris, D.||Solicitor-General, the|
|List of the NOES.|
|Archbold, R.||O'Conor, Don|
|Barry, G. S.||Power, J.|
|Bodkin, J. J.||Roche, W.|
|Brabazon, Sir W.||Somers, J. P.|
|Bridgeman, H.||Somerville, Sir W. M.|
|Browne, R. D.||Stewart, J.|
|Butler, hon. Colonel||Style, Sir C.|
|Chester, H.||Talbot, J. H.|
|Erle, W.||Vigors, N. A.|
|Ferguson, Sir R. A.||Westenra, hon. H. R.|
|Fitzsimon, N.||Westenra, hon. J. C.|
|Gibson, J.||Wood, Sir M.|
|Grattan, H.||Yates, J. A.|
|Nagle, Sir R.||O'Connell, D.|
|O'Brien, W. S.||Bellew, R. M.|
§ Clause agreed to.
§ On the 23rd clause, which provided for the appointment of ex officio guardians,
§ Mr. S. O'Brien
proposed, that after the words, "Be it enacted that every justice 1242 of the peace residing in such union, and acting for the county in which he so resides," there should be added these words, "and possessing or occupying property rated to the poor-rate of the union at a net annual value of not less than 50l. a-year.
was opposed to the amendment," because he objected to the appointment of ex officio guardians altogether.
§ Mr. Shaw
also objected to the amendment, as it would exclude the eldest sons of the richest land proprietors in the union from being eligible to the office of guardian. He thought that there would be sufficient difficulty in finding guardians to the poor in Ireland under the present provisions of the Bill, and there was no valid reason for increasing them.
§ Amendment withdrawn.
meant to oppose the whole clause, and he felt it his imperative duty to take the sense of the House upon it. He objected to the principle of the clause—he objected to magistrates being ex officio guardians. He wished to disparage the magistracy of Ireland as little as possible; but he must say, that he could see no valid reason for making them ex officio guardians. He would not refer to their political feelings, because he knew a great many magistrates who were high Tories, or rather Conservatives, who were men of high honour and integrity; but to appoint magistrates generally as guardians would lead to great irritation, and would lead to agrarian aggressions, which would be anything but wise. He was, therefore, afraid to keep the clause in the Bill, of which he now moved the omission. If magistrates were deserving, they would be sure to be elected by the rate-payers members of the boards of guardians.
§ Colonel Conolly
was of opinion that the clause ought to be retained. There were many gentlemen in the commission who were the agents of absentee landlords, who managed property that would be assessed, and who, from their local knowledge and high character, would be most efficient members of the board of guardians.
§ Mr. Jephson
said, that the omission of the clause would, in effect, be a general disparagement of the characters of the magistracy. He thought the clause one of the most beneficial parts of the Bill. The hon. and learned Member for Dublin said, that if magistrates were deserving 1243 they would be sure to be elected; but he was satisfied, from the state of party feeling and prejudice in Ireland, that good magistrates would not be elected, because none would be so elected unless they consented to canvass for the office.
observed, that the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, had said, that the magistrates of Ireland were good and bad; therefore this clause would be productive of bad as well as good. The hon. Gentleman had not pointed out the proportions, whether the good or the bad preponderated. But on the hon. Gentleman's own showing, the clause ought not to be adopted. If ex officio guardians were to be appointed, there might just as well be no election at all. Election would be mockery under such circumstances.
§ Viscount Morpeth
could not agree to the proposition for omitting the clause. He would not enter into a discussion of the character of the magistracy of Ireland, because this was not the fit opportunity for doing so; but no doubt in this, as in every other class, there were some good and some bad. He trusted, however, that the good preponderated, and a great portion of them were well-calculated to judge and determine for the good of all parties. In England, any county magistrate was ex officio a member of the boards of guardians; but this Bill proposed to enact that only one-fourth of a board of guardians should consist of ex officio members.
§ Mr. Shaw
contended, that if a gentleman was fit to remain in the commission of the peace, he must, at least, be equally qualified to act as a member of the board of guardians under a poor-law bill. It was too much the practice in that House to make attacks on the magistracy of Ireland, but there could not be a more respectable body.
gave Ministers credit for wishing to assimilate the present Bill to that of England; but looking to what had taken place in this country, he was of opinion that magistrates ought not to be ex officio members of boards of guardians. It was consistent with his knowledge, that in several instances, magistrates had held up the Poor-law Act to reprobation. If Ministers dared him to bring a case forward, he could do so. Magistrates would never attend unless a job was to be perpetrated.
§ Viscount Howick
did not know what the case was to which the hon. Member for Chester had alluded, all he had said was, that he could bring forward an instance of such conduct on the part of a magistrate, and he could not prove a negative to a general charge of that kind. From his own experience, however, and that of almost any gentleman with whom he had spoken on the working of the Poor-law Bill, his opinion was in direct opposition to the assertion of the hon. Member for Chester, and he thought the clause in the English Bill, which made magistrates ex officio guardians, was the most useful part of it. In the debate in the House of Lords, he recollected that it was urged with great effect, that the greatest possible good would result from bringing the magistrates and farmers to act together as members of the boards of guardians.
§ Mr. Hume
was of opinion, that the Government had done right by limiting the number, because, in doing so, they had limited the evil. But he must ask, if the appointment of magistrates was the best part of the Bill, why the number was limited? He was of opinion that the guardians should all be elected, and, therefore, he should vote for the omission of the clause.
§ Mr. J. Grattan
said, there were 100 magistrates or thereabouts in each county in Ireland, and he supposed it to be intended that there should be four unions in each county. His apprehension therefore was, that the ex officio members would control the elected members of the boards.
§ Sir E. Sugden
thought, it was absolutely necessary that the beginning of this experiment should be committed to the administration of competent persons. He did not deny that the elective guardians would be competent persons, but it was more likely that the magistrates should be found to be possessed of that character. If the contrary was shown to be the case when the Bill came into operation, then they must alter this provision of it. In an experiment of such magnitude as this, it could not but happen that alterations would be found necessary. As from the duties of a situation he had the honour to fill, he possessed some knowledge of the magistracy of Ireland, and as having no inclination or interest to speak of them otherwise than as they existed, he must 1245 say he had heard with pleasure the mitigated tone in which the and learned Member for Dublin had alluded to a body to which he now himself belonged. He should vote for the clause as it stood.
§ The Committee divided on the clause: —Ayes 124; Noes 44: Majority 80.
|List of the AYES.|
|Acland, T. D.||Hawkes, T.|
|Adare, Viscount||Hayes, Sir E.|
|Alexander, Viscount||Heathcote, G. J.|
|Bagge, W.||Henniker, Lord|
|Bailey, J.||Hodgson, R.|
|Barneby, J.||Hope, G. W.|
|Barron, H. W.||Houstoun, G.|
|Bateman, J.||Howard, P. H.|
|Benett, J.||Howick, Viscount|
|Bentinck, Lord G.||Hughes, W. B.|
|Berkeley, hon. H.||Ingestrie, Viscount|
|Berkeley, hon. G.||Ingham, R.|
|Blair, J.||Inglis, Sir R. H.|
|Blake, W. J.||Irving, J.|
|Borthwick, P.||Jackson, Sergeant|
|Bowes, J.||Jephson, C. D. O.|
|Briscoe, J. I.||Jones, T.|
|Brocklehurst, J.||Kemble, H.|
|Bruges, W. H. L.||Knatchbull, hn. Sir E.|
|Buller, Sir J. Y.||Knight, H. G.|
|Burr, H.||Lefroy, right hon. T.|
|Busfield, W.||Lennox, Lord G.|
|Cantilupe, Viscount||Litton, E.|
|Chalmers, P.||Lockhart, A. M.|
|Chapman, sir M. L. C.||Master, T. W. C.|
|Chetwynd, Major||Meynell, Captain|
|Clements, Viscount||Mildmay, P. St. J.|
|Cole, hon. A. H.||Monypenny, T. G.|
|Cole, Viscount||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Conolly, E.||Morris, D.|
|Corry, hon. H.||Northland, Viscount|
|Courtenay, P.||O'Brien, W. S.|
|Cripps, J.||Pakington, J. S.|
|Currie, R.||Parker, J.|
|Curry, W.||Perceval, Colonel|
|Darby, G.||Philips, G. R.|
|Darlington, Earl of||Plumptre, J. P.|
|Davies, Colonel||Ponsonby, C. F. A. C|
|Douglas, Sir C. E.||Ponsonby, Hon. J.|
|Dundas, C. W. D.||Pusey, P.|
|Dundas, Captain D.||Redington, T. N.|
|Elliot, hon. J. E.||Rice, E. R.|
|Ellis, J.||Rickford, W.|
|Evans, W.||Round, C. G.|
|Fellowes, E.||Rushout, G.|
|Ferguson, Sir R. A.||Scarlett, hon. R.|
|Fitzgibbon, hon. Col.||Shaw, right hon. F.|
|Fitzroy, Lord C.||Shirley, E.J.|
|Forbes, W.||Somerset, Lord G.|
|French, F.||Somerville, Sir W. M|
|Gibson, J.||Stanley, E. J.|
|Gladstone, W. E.||Stuart, V.|
|Goddard, A.||Sugden, rt. hon. Sir E|
|Greenaway, C.||Thomson, rt. hon. C. P|
|Grey, Sir G.||Thornhill, G.|
|Grimsditch, T.||Townley, R. G.|
|Turner, W.||Wood, G. W.|
|Verner, Colonel||Wood, T.|
|Villiers, Viscount||Wrightson, W. B.|
|Wilberforce, W.||Wyse, T.|
|Wilbraham, G.||Young, J.|
|Winnington, T. E.||Baring, F.|
|Winnington, H. J.||Solicitor-General, the|
|List of the NOES.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Nagle, Sir R.|
|Aglionby, Major||O'Connell, M. J.|
|Archbold, R.||O'Connell, M.|
|Barry, G. S.||O'Conor, Don|
|Beamish, F. B.||Power, J.|
|Bellew, R. M.||Roche, W.|
|Blake, M. J.||Strutt, E.|
|Browne, R. D.||Style, Sir C.|
|Chester, H.||Talbot, J. H.|
|Easthope, J.||Thornley, T.|
|Evans, G.||Vigors, N. A.|
|Finch, F.||Wakley, T.|
|Fitzsimon, N.||Walker, C. A.|
|Grattan, J.||Wallace, R.|
|Grattan, H.||Westenra, hon. H. R.|
|Hindley, C.||Westenra, hon. J. C.|
|Hodges, T. L.||White, L.|
|Hume, J.||White, S.|
|Hutton, R.||Williams, W. A.|
|Jervis, J.||Yates, J. A.|
|Langdale, hon. C.||TELLERS.|
|Marshall, W.||O'Connell, D.|
|Maule, W. H.||Maher, J.|
§ The other clauses to the 30th were agreed to. House resumed. Committee to sit again.