HC Deb 27 June 1842 vol 64 cc641-2
Mr. Gill

asked the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether he had granted interviews to deputations from Bristol and Canterbury, having for their object certain complaints and representations in reference to the Poor-law Amendment Bill; and if so, whether he would state the grounds upon which he had refused to grant an interview to a deputation from the board of guardians of Plymouth, having a similar object?

Sir J. Graham

said, it was quite true that at the instance of the hon. Members for Bristol and Canterbury, he had had the honour of receiving deputations from those places upon a single point respecting the operation of a certain clause in the Poor-law Amendment Act, that clause having reference to the local acts which regulated the relief of the poor in those places. On the application of the hon. Member for Canterbury, it appeared to him that there was a misconception as to the operation of the clause; and he was very anxious to ascertain if he rightly understood the point at issue. On that ground, and on that only, had he consented to receive the deputations. With regard to the Plymouth deputation, he had had the advantage of a memorial from the town, setting forth all that they desired and thought material; and, in addition to that source of information, he had been honoured with a communication from the hon. Member himself, who, indeed, not satisfied with a verbal communication, had been so obliging as to put his views in writing. With regard to Plymouth, therefore, there could be no mistake whatever. He clearly understood what were the views of those interested in the subject at that town; and with respect to another point on which the deputation desired information, namely, the relief of the casual poor landed at Plymouth from the Channel Islands—he felt that he was not able to give such satisfactory explanations on the matter as the Poor-law commissioners, and therefore he had referred them to those authorities for the information they desired. He would suggest to the hon. Gentleman, that it was absolutely necessary for him to exercise a discretion with respect to the receiving of deputations of this sort, and he would only further add his assurance that in what he had done he had been actuated by a sense of what was due to the public service, and, which he hoped he need scarcely say, by no want of respect to the hon. Gentleman opposite.