HC Deb 01 April 1841 vol 57 cc769-72
Colonel Sibthorp

rose, pursuant to notice, to move That there be laid before the House copies of entries on the books of the Poole Union with regard to the case of the child of Peter Rickets, deceased; return of the period at which application was first made for relief, the name of the relieving officer to whom such application was made, with the reply thereto; the name of die officer at present holding the situation of relieving officer, and whether ha holds any other appointment, and what appointment, besides that of relieving officer; also, specifying the day on which the child died, and of what complaint or disease; whether any report was made relative to the said child, during any period, to the Poor-law commissioners or the assistant Poor-law commissioners, by whom and at what period such report was made; also copies of the correspondence that took place relative to the above case, with the results thereof; whether any inquest was held on the body of the child; if so, where and at what period; the name of the coroner, and the verdict of the jury. Returns specifying the period at which application was first made, and to whom, for out-door relief to Rebecca Moore, and the sum, and also for what period it was granted weekly; the period it which Rebecca Moore was first admitted into the Poole Union, and at what period she died there, and also the complaint of which she died; the names of the relieving officers at the time Rebecca Moore was an inmate, and whether any other officer has been subsequently appointed to that situation, the name of the officer so appointed, and whether he holds any, and, if any, what other appointment besides that of relieving officer; whether any report relative to the case of Rebecca Moore has been at any time made either to the Poor-law commissioners or the Assistant Poor-law commissioners, by whom the report was made, and at what period. Also, copies of the correspondence that took place with any, with what persons, and the result thereof. The hon. and gallant Member said, that after the manner in which his motion on this subject had been treated on a former evening he felt it to be his duty to persevere in asking for the returns. He was actuated on this occasion by a sense of duty, which had always been his guide. He felt it his duty to bring before the House every case of oppression or hardship of which he could obtain correct information, and which arose out of the working of the: Poor-law Amendment Bill, for to the principle and the details of that bill he was and should be opposed. The hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Home Department had said that everybody had some of the returns for which he was now moving, but he wanted that every body out of as well as in that House should have it. He sincerely said, "Would to God that such cases as the returns referred to never had occurred." The hon. Member here referred to some letters which he had received on the case of Rebecca Moore. The writer of one letter stated that he had seen in The Times his notice of motion on that case, and could give him information respecting it from his own personal observation. Would it be believed, that though this poor woman had been described by the medical man as requiring wine and meat and other nutritive diet, she had been allowed to linger on for many months on the pitiful allowance of 2s. 6d. per week? Her complaint was described as an abscess, which required more nutritive diet than she could afford. The case was pressed on the attention of the board of guardians by Mr. Parker, but they refused to interfere, and Mr. Parker assisted the poor woman out of his own pocket. The entries in the-books would show that wine and meat daily were necessary for her, and in fact it could be shown that she died from the want of those necessaries which her case required. The orders of the medical man had not been complied with, and the female had been treated with the utmost neglect, and died in consequence, while another female residing in the same parish was in the receipt of 4s. per week of the public money. A man named Peter Rickets had applied on the Wednesday to the relieving officer to afford relief to his child, which could not live for many days. The relieving officer said that he could do nothing for him, and that he must come to the board on the following Tuesday. But the child died on the intervening Sunday, and the relieving officer never went near it, nor made any inquiry concerning it. The noble Lord opposite had promised some time since that this case should be brought under the especial notice of the Poor-law commissioners. Why had not the commissioners given in their answer sooner than they did? Their explanation, when it came, was most unsatisfactory. The commissioners stated that, in the two cases referred to, there had been an omission of duty on the part of the relieving officer but that they made allowance for him. Allowance, when two people had lost their lives! And why did they make allowance? Because he had been recently appointed. Why appoint any but competent persons? The assistant-commissioners were ordered to report to the chief commissioners every three months. How futile was this arrangement? Here were two deaths, and before a proper inquiry could be instituted they might have to wait for a period of three months. The hon. Member concluded by moving his resolutions.

Mr. F. Maule

was not prepared to offer any opposition to the hon. and gallant Gentleman. The entire correspondence between the Poor-law Commissioners and the local authorities, with reference to these cases, would be speedily laid on the Table of the House.

Returns ordered.

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