§ Mr. Ferrand
seeing the Home Secretary in his place begged again to refer to the conduct of the board of guardians of the Halifax Union. On a previous evening he had stated to the House that the guardians of the union, with the consent of Mr. Clements, the assistant Poor-law Commissioner, had entered into preliminary arrangements for the erection of a tread-wheel in the workhouse. The right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham) upon that occasion declared that what he (Mr. Ferrand) stated was not true, and that the machinery which the guardians proposed to erect was not a tread-wheel but a hand-mill. Since then he had received from an unquestionable source the following statement:—That the board of guardians of the Halifax Union, on the 1st of March, with the consent and sanction of Mr. Clements, the assistant Poor-law Commissioner, resolved that arrangements should be made for the erection of a tread-wheel, exactly the same in principle as the one at the Wakefield, or any other house of correction. The power is to be applied to a rag machine, and the estimate for the wheel is to be to hold from four to forty men.He (Mr. Ferrand) wished to know whether the board of guardians had the sanction of the Home Secretary for the erection of this wheel?
§ Sir James Graham
said, that previous to the reply which he gave to the hon. Gentleman upon this subject a few years ago, he had received from the Poor-law Commissioners an assurance that they had reason to believe that the statement that the board of guardians of the Halifax Union had entered upon arrangements for the erection of a tread-wheel, was inaccurate. He had seen one of the Poor-law Commissioners again that morning, and had again inquired of him whether he had any reason to doubt that the statement which he (Sir James Graham) had made in the House, upon the authority of the Commissioners, was incorrect. The Commissioner again assured him that he believed the statement was quite correct, that the machinery in question was 427 not a tread-wheel but a hand-mill for the grinding of corn. He was unable, from his own knowledge, to give any assurance upon the subject. But he had no hesitation in repeating what he stated the other evening, that he should most extremely deprecate the erection of a tread-wheel in any union workhouse; and if by any misfortune such an intention should exist in the minds of the guardians at Halifax, he was sure that the Poor-law Commissioners would unite with him in the exertion of all his influence to prevent its being carried into effect.