§ On Clause 22,
§ Mr. Borthwick
proposed the addition of these words, "every clergyman of the Established Church holding cure of souls in such parish or union shall be ex officio a guardian."
§ Sir J. Graham
said, that this point had on more than one occasion been duly considered, and the result was a strong conviction that the Amendment was not desirable. It would have the effect of bringing the clergy of the parish or union into unpleasant broils and sometimes angry collision with many of their congregations, which would not tend to promote that good feeling which ought to subsist between a clergyman and the members of his flock. If the clergyman should be an advocate for administering relief to the poor with a sparing hand, he would become unpopular with that class. If, on the other hand, he was anxions to procure relief for the poor on a liberal scale, he might draw on himself the angry feelings of the rate-payers. On the whole, he thought that the duties of a guardian of the poor were not in every respect consistent with those of a clergyman having the cure of souls. He believed that it was not the wish of the clergy to have this duty imposed on them, and for all these reasons he felt it to be his duty to resist the proposition.
§ Mr. B. Cochrane
saw no danger in adopting the proposition; for it was the case in Scotland, that the money collected 741 for the relief of the poor passed through the hands of the clergy.
§ Sir J. Graham
said, that money left at the Church doors on Sundays in Scotland, as a religious offering, was wisely left to the disposal of the Clergy in the relief of the poor. But this fund was not analogous to the fund raised in England for poor relief.
§ Mr. T. Duncombe
said, that if there was any force in the argument, that clergymen should be excluded from the boards of guardians, it would equally prevail for the exclusion of clergymen from the Commission of the peace. From communications he had received, he believed that there existed a very strong feeling among the people in favour of clergymen being ex officio guardians, as they generally administered the Poor Law in a lenient manner. He knew no one who ought to be better acquainted with the circumstances of the poor than the clergyman of the parish; and for this reason, he should vote in favour of his being (whether he were rector or curate) an ex officio guardian.
§ Mr. Aglionby
said, that a new light seemed to have broken in upon the hon. Member for Finsbury. He did not wish to impute inconsistency to the hon. Member, but, if he mistook not, he had voted with that hon. Member for the establishment of the principle that all guardians should be elected. He concurred with the right hon. Baronet in resisting, for the sake of the harmony of the parish, the proposition now made. He should wish the clergyman to be looked up to as being the friend of the poor, but he thought there was no way less likely to effect this object than the making him a Poor Law guardian.
§ Mr. Ferrand
thought that the observations just made against the hon. Member for Finsbury were very unfair. The hon. Member for Finsbury possessed the confidence of the working classes to a great extent; and he stated that he had been applied to by some of them to support such a proposition as that made by the hon. Member for Evesham. He was rejoiced that the poor had declared such confidence in the clergy. The clergy of the Church of England had been for years traduced; but he asserted that they were the best friends of the poor, and he believed that if the poor bad the power of selecting the Board to which they would 742 apply, it would be a board composed of clergymen.
§ Mr. T. Duncombe
admitted, that he thought that all Poor Law guardians ought to be elected by the ratepayers; but if there were to be ex officio guardians, no persons were, in his opinion, better fitted for the office than clergymen, because they were the most lenient administrators of the law.
§ Lord J. Manners
said, that if there was truth in the argument that those who administered the Poor Law were brought into conflicts and broils of all sorts with the people, and that, therefore, it was necessary to keep the clergy out of this confusion, this was an argument that the system itself could not be grounded in what was right. Those who had the euro of souls ought also to be the dispensers of charity. This was the case in Scotland and in France; and the French clergy had in an especial manner the confidence and respect of their flocks. He admitted that there were difficulties in the way of the proposition of the hon. Member for Evesham; but they arose out of the cast-iron machinery by which it was endeavoured to carry into effect the provisions of the Poor Law.
Mr. R. Yorke
thought, it must be admitted that there was some awkward truth in what had fallen from the right hon. Baronet. At the first view, it seemed that no person could be more properly selected as an ex officio guardian for the administration of charity than the clergyman of the parish; yet, considering the peculiar difficulties in which the question was involved, he was inclined to think that, for the sake of peace, it would be advisable to leave clergymen to take their chances of election, and not to make it a necessary and inevitable consequence that, because they were clergymen, they should be ex officio guardians.
§ Amendment withdrawn.
§ Clause agreed to.
§ On Clause 23, providing that the relief of married women in certain cases should be subject to the same conditions as if they were widows,
§ Mr. Hindley
objected to the Clause, The orders of the Poor Law Commissioners provided that widows should not have relief out of the workhouse, and if the wives of lunatics, idiots, and men who had been transported were to receive similar relief. 743 the workhouses would be crowded with them.
§ Sir J. Graham
, said, that women who had been deserted by their husbands, or whose husbands had been separated from them by the operation of law, were to be treated to all intents and purposes as widows. For six months they would be entitled to relief, and beyond that period it was open to the Board of Guardians to decide whether relief was to be given them. The object of the Clause was to make the mother of a family maintain her family as far as she was able, and in case of her deserting them she was rendered liable to the same penalties as was attached to a father deserting his family. That was the object of the Clause, and he considered it a just one. In cases where convicts behaved well, the Government had given facilities for defraying the expenses of sending their wives and children to the colonies; but the expense was great, and one of which it had been deemed fit to relieve the country.
§ Clause agreed to.
§ Mr. Darby
objected to the 24th Clause, which gave to overseers the power of levying off the estates of insane paupers the expenses incurred for their maintenance. He thought such a power ought not to be given to overseers. Some account should be taken of the amount of property that might be seized, and a return ought to be made to the justices' at a Quarter Sessions. He did not, as the Clause then stood, see any security for the proper application of the funds that might be raised.
§ Sir J. Graham
said, his belief was that the operation of the Clause would lead to that which was much to be desired—the relief of insane paupers, not by maintaining them in workhouses, but in lunatic asylums.
§ Mr. Bailie Cochrane
observed, that if once the principle was admitted that insane persons were to be kept in workhouses, it might be carried to any conceivable extent.
§ Sir J. Graham
Not so: the existing law was sufficiently stringent with regard to the detention of lunatics in workhouses. No dangerous lunatic or idiot could be kept there more than fourteen days, and the Clause they were now debating only, in fact, aimed at carrying out the law by giving to the guardians of the poor such a power over the estates of lunatics 744 as would enable them to send them to asylums.
§ Mr. Cochrane
thought he knew of cases, in which lunatics had been confined in workhouses for more than fourteen days. The law which the Home Secretary had adverted to, was very generally disregarded; in some counties necessarily so, because there was no lunatic asylum.
§ Lord Ebrington
was glad that facilties were about to be given to render the property of lunatics available for their support. In some instances he had observed a disinclination in Boards of Guardians, on account principally of the expense, to forward lunatics to asylums until they became too dangerous and incorrigible to be kept anywhere else. There was no economy more mistaken than that of delaying to send lunatics to places where they might be cured in the earlier stages of their affliction. A more enlightened view of their own interest in this respect would he hoped, induce Poor Law Guardians to act in future upon different principles.
§ Lord Ashley
observed, that the view taken by the hon. Member for Bridport had been more than confirmed by the Report of the Metropolitan Commissioners of Lunacy, who stated that in many workhouses there were confined a large number of absolutely dangerous lunatics. The Commissioners gave instances. In the Redruth Union workhouse there were forty-one insane persons, including six idiots, and several violent lunatics; in the workhouse of the Bath Union there were twenty-one insane persons, including a dangerous woman; in that of the Leicester Union there were thirty mad persons, including three males and nine females who were dangerous lunatics; and in the Birmingham Union workhouses there were seventy-one cases of insanity, many of which were described as of a very grave class. Now, the Poor Law Commissioners had expressed an opinion that the detention of any incurable lunatic was objectionable on the score both of humanity and economy; and the Act which the Home Secretary had quoted, no doubt provided that no dangerous lunatics or idiots should be detained for more than fourteen days in the workhouse. But this law was constantly evaded by a quibble about the force and application of the word "dangerous." It was obvious, however, that in a workhouse the insan person was subject to no supervision, and no 745 remedial treatment, whilst there was no opportunity of any sort afforded for classification. In many cases the guardians, no doubt, laboured under great difficulties in the disposal of pauper lunatics and idiots, by reason of the insufficient provision afforded for them in county asylums. It was a startling fact, that in England and Wales there were 17,000 pauper lunatics, and only public asylums provided for 4,500. How were the rest disposed of? In private asylums, in workhouses, and if they went to the Principality, they would find that they were too often treated as no man of feeling would treat his dog—that they were kept in outhouses—chained—wallowing in filth, and without firing, for years. It was a subject that really required investigation. He rejoiced in that opportunity of directing the attention of the House to the subject, beseeching them to remember, as a rule, that if taken in time, insanity was susceptible of cure, but that if permitted to grow, it became, as an hon. Member opposite (Mr. Wakley) would tell them, confirmed, and, in fine, a permanent affliction.
§ Colonel Sibthorp
asked, if the House, after hearing the statements of the noble Lord, could permit poor creatures to remain in the state described. He begged the Home Secretary to assign a single reason for permitting such things to occur in a land overrun by Poor Law Commissioners and Sub-commissioners, who really seemed to interfere with everything but that which they ought to deal with.
§ Sir J. Graham
replied, that he did not understand the noble Lord to say, that the abuses he adverted to, took place in workhouses. No doubt, however, the whole subject was well entitled to the careful and early attention of the House. In the course of next Session, indeed, he himself would be bound to bring it forward, for the Metropolitan Commission of Lunacy expired next year, and it would then be absolutely essential that the whole subject should come under immediate review. After the statement, too, of the noble Lord, that out of 17,000 pauper lunatics, there was a public provision made for only 4,500, the subject acquired additional importance.
said, persons were very anxious throughout the Principality to provide lunatic asylums; but the counties were so small as not to permit each one to support such an expense individually, and 746 their attempts to join neighbouring counties in building an asylum jointly, large enough for all, were frustrated by the state of the law which forbids such an union. He hoped the right hon. Baronet would alter the law, and make it imperative on the counties to build proper lunatic asylums.
§ Mr. Wakley
was surprised that nothing had been done by the present measure to remedy the state of the lunatic poor in the workhouses; the Poor Law Commissioners must have long been cognizant of the horrible condition in which those unfortunate persons were. The existing law was daily violated with respect to pauper lunatics in the workhouses, and the Poor Law Commissioners knew it. The reason, no doubt was, that the cost of supporting a pauper lunatic was one third less in the workhouse than it would be if he were sent to the county asylum. The advantages which were derived from an early remedial treatment of lunacy were immense. They constituted all the difference between cure and confirmed insanity. The curative system now enforced in the Middlesex County Lunatic Asylum was such as to confer the highest credit, not only on the magistracy, but also on the whole community. There never was a system more humane, more generous, and, he might add, more successful. The only misfortune was, that there was not room enough to accommodate all those unfortunate lunatics who were chargeable to their parishes, and now consequently were confined in their respective workhouses. It often happened that when a lunatic recently attacked was brought to the county asylum, the room which he might have occupied with some chance of cure under the treatment there enforced was already in the occupation of a confirmed and incurable lunatic, and thus all the benefit available from curative means was lost to such for ever. This was a crying evil, and one which the right hon. Baronet ought to remedy. He hoped the next Session would not pass without some measure being proposed by the Government for this purpose. The delay of a single week was often fatal to the cure. It however, sometimes happened that the workhouse authorities would characterize a troublesome inmate as lunatic, merely in order to get rid of him. It occasionally happened that a pauper found fault with his diet or his treatment in the workhouse, and thus occasioned 747 trouble to those about or placed over him—and sometimes it would be suggested that such a person must be mad, he was so very discontented. All that was necessary to be done was, for the magistrate to consent to his removal on the production of a medical certificate of the person's insanity, and this was frequently signed by the very individual who had first suggested the possibility of his being mad. Such practices as these ought to be guarded against, and, indeed, the right hon. Baronet would do well to see that the regulations of the Poor Law Amendment Bill were more strictly adhered to in future, than to his knowledge they had been.
§ Clause agreed to.
§ On Clause 27, relating to the burial of paupers,
§ Captain Pechell
wished to call the attention of the right hon. Baronet to a system adopted in some Poor Law unions, of preventing the relatives of paupers who died in workhouses from attending their funerals. A case of this natture had come before the magistrates at Marlborough Street, and had occasioned great annoyance and excitement. Surely it could not be maintained that the relatives of persons who died in workhouses should be prevented from following their remains to the grave. He wished to direct the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to this subject, and he hoped he would give it his consideration.
§ Sir J. Graham
said, it had been decided by the supreme court of judicature in this country, that under the 43rd of Elizabeth, the parochial authorities had no power to defray from the poor rates the expense of interring the bodies of wayfaring persons who did not die in the workhouse. The first part of this Clause was intended to provide a remedy for that grievous evil, and he hoped it would receive the unanimous sanction of the House.
§ Mr. Wakley
hoped the right hon. Baronet, would consent to the postponement of this Clause, for if it was postponed, he believed the right hon. Gentleman would see the necessity of reconstructing it. He wished the right hon. Gentleman was with him for a fortnight. The right hon. Baronet would then have an opportunity of seeing what miseries and inconvenience might be removed and prevented by the alteration of this Clause. It happened, not unfrequently, that a death took place 748 in a room eight or ten feet square, occupied by four, five, six, or seven persons. Only a few days ago, he had witnessed two cases of this nature. In the first, a woman and three children were living in a room only twelve feet square, in which there was a corpse. In the second case, the room was only nine feet square, for he measured it himself, and though there was a dead body in it, it was occupied by a man his wile, and three children. But what said this Clause? It provided that the guardians should have the power to bury the body of any poor person which might be within their parish or union, "if such poor person have died without effects of sufficient value for defraying the expenses of burial." Why, in the first case to which he had just alluded, the poor woman whose child was dead received 2s. 6d. a-week and three loaves of bread from the parish; she had no relations to assist her, her only relative being a sister who was in service, and who she stated was extremely kind to her; but the furniture in the house was her own. Now, if that woman applied to the parish for a coffin, and for the expenses of burying her child, she might be met by the words of this Clause—"if such poor person have died without effects of sufficient value defraying the expenses of the burial." He begged to remind the House that the first part of the Clause was only permissive—it was not directory; it did not require that the parish officers should bury the body,—it only said, that it should be lawful for them to do so. Could it be said that they entertained any respect for the feelings of the poor population of this country? Why, they treated them like barbarians. Cases were frequently brought under his notice in which poor persons, suffering under the most painful bereavements, and entreating only a coffin to bury the remains of their relatives, were refused even that boon, and were bandied about from one parish officer to another in the most shameful manner. In cases of the description to which he was alluding the greatest facilities for burial ought to be afforded. In many instances, the progress of decomposition within a few hours after death, was most frightful, and was attended with great danger to human life, not only in the apartment and in the House in which the body lay, but throughout the whole neighbourhood. He thought that under these circumstances neither the right hon. 749 Baronet (Sir J. Graham) nor the Poor Law Commissioners could object to give overseers, churchwardens, or relieving, officers, the power of defraying the expenses of burial. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would postpone the further consideration of the Clause.
§ Sir J. Graham
said, he could not accede to the suggestion of the hon. Member, that this Clause should be postponed and he thought the Committee must feel that such a course would not be consistent with policy or propriety. The House must remember, that according to the existing law, and in conformity with the interpretation put upon that law by the supreme court of judicature, no parish union in England or Wales could defray the expense of burying any pauper unless such pauper died in the workhouse. In order to remedy this evil the present Clause was framed, enabling the guardians of parishes or unions to bury paupers who might not die in the workhouse. He was most anxious that under proper safeguards, facilities should be afforded for the interment of the bodies of destitute persons at the cost of the poor rate, although such persons might not die in the workhouse. It would be necessary to adopt some checks and restraints; but he invited a full discussion of the subject, and if the Clause was imperfectly framed, and any hon. Gentleman would suggest more perspicuous expressions, he should be glad to attend to such suggestions.
Colonel Wood (Brecon)
hoped the hon. Member for Finsbury would not press the postponement of this Clause. He could only say, that in the union with which he was connected, the law as stated by the right hon. Baronet was not carried out. If a death took place within the union, the relieving officer, on application being made to him, furnished a coffin, and reported having done so at the next meeting of the board of guardians; and if they found it was a case in which it was reasonable that an interment should take place at the expense of the union, they allowed the charge. It was a most extraordinary thing that guardians should not have the power to defray the expense of interring poor persons who died out of the workhouses; but he did not think there was a single union in the kingdom in which the law was administered on that principle. He hoped the law would now be altered, and that it would be enacted that the expense 750 of the interment of desitute persons should be defrayed from the poor rates, whether they died in or out of the workhouses.
§ Sir J. Graham
said, he would make a proposal to the Committee which would go far towards obviating the objections that had been made to this Clause. He believed, that the objection which had been raised by his hon. Friend behind him, that the Clause gave the power to guardians only of ordering burial, would be met by the fact that the boards of guardians now had the power of delegating to the officers of the unions the authority to grant relief; and he presumed, therefore, that under the Clause as it now stood, they would be able to delegate to such officers the authority to order the interment of the bodies of destitute persons. He was ready also, to consent to the omission from this Clause, of the words—"if such poor person have died without effects of sufficient value for defraying the expenses of the burial."
§ Clause with Amendments passed.
§ On Clause 28, providing that auditors are to be appointed for districts of unions by the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of boards of guardians.
§ Mr. C. Wood
said, it was necessary that, the auditing body should be free from all local influence; and the mode of appointment proposed by the Bill was an improvement on the existing practice, according to which auditors were appointed by the boards of guardians. The appointment of officers by boards of guardians led to jobbing. The Committee of 1838 suggested that the appointment of auditors should be with the Commissioners, and this would certainly relieve the auditors from the influence of the guardians. It also not unfrequently happened that illegal expenditure was authorized by Boards of guardians, and when this happened the remedy against them was exceedingly cumbrous. He suggested whether it might not be possible to substitute some more simple and summary mode of proceeding.
§ Captain Pechell
thought the Clause was of a destructive nature. He trusted the right hon. Baronet would not allow a Clause of this grasping nature to remain in the Bill, which he termed an ameliorating measure. The principal objection which he (Captain Pechell) entertained was, to the appointment of the auditors, 751 who were to be under the control of the Poor Law Commissioners, not merely as to their salaries, but as to the guidance of their conduct. He objected to the introduction of the wedge of the Poor Law Commissioners into the local management of unions, for, when once that wedge was admitted, nobody could say how soon it might be driven home. The effect of the Clause would be to create distrust and suspicion in the minds of the ratepayers.
§ Colonel Sibthorp
moved, that the Clause be struck out of the Bill. He had the same objections to it as had been already expressed.
§ Sir J. Graham
said, he had no hesitation in saying that the Clause would operate generally, not only upon unions existing under the Poor Law Amendment Act, but upon unions which were governed by local acts. When he had considered this subject it had been proved that great abuses had occurred in the administration of the funds, whether the parishes were under general or local acts, and he knew of no restraint that would be more efficient and less objectionable than that which he proposed by this Clause. He admitted that the Report of the Committee which sat in 1838 recommended that the auditors should be independent of the ratepayers, and for that purpose that they should be appointed by the Commissioners. He had not gone the whole length suggested by the Committee, and approved of by the hon. Member for Halifax, but he had proposed that district auditors should be appointed by the Chairman and Vice-Chairmen of unions, instead of being elected by the guardians, as at the present time. He attatched great importance to the Clause they were then considering, and he believed that anything less than what he proposed would, judging from past experience, be inefficient; and if the Committee rejected the Clause, they would, in his opinion, leave a mass of public accounts unsubjected to any effectual check or control. Before he sat down he wished to inform the House that he had recently seen a decision of the Court of Queen's Bench as late as the 8th of June, by which the Judges had determined that the Commissioners, with reference to all local acts, had the power of compelling an audit, and of making it as searching, as general, and as effective as could be desired.
§ Mr. C. Wood
said, the Clause, as proposed 752 by the right hon. Gentleman, would not render the auditors independent. He proposed to leave out all the words commencing "and" in the sixth line, and ending "Commissioners" in the fourteenth line; all that part of the Clause, namely, which gave the election to the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Board.
Mr. S. Wortley
said, that in the conflict between the right hon. Baronet and the hon. Member for Halifax the interests of the parties more immediately concerned seemed to be totally neglected. He thought that those who were to be protected ought not to be considered.
§ Mr. Borthwick
would vote for the Amendment rather than the Clause, though, if it were carried, he did not know whether he should even then vote for the Clause. He had heard of no practical grievance under the present system of auditing accounts, and he agreed in the opinion expressed by the hon. and gallant Member for Lincoln, that it would be better to let well alone, and to reject the Clause altogether. The guardians, who had the expenditure of the funds, were to have the power under the Clause of electing the auditors, who were to pass their own accounts. Now, in his opinion, those who paid the money ought to have the right of selecting the persons who audited the accounts of those who had received and expended it.
§ Mr. Childers
would vote for the Amendment of the hon. Member for Halifax, as it would go as far towards vesting the right of choosing their own auditors in the general body of ratepayers as could be done. The Clause as it now stood was most clumsily constructed, and he thought it extremely objectionable.
§ Mr. Wakley
agreed in the last observation of the hon. Member who had preceded him. The Clause was most clumsily framed. It was monstrous to propose to vest the election of auditors in the chairmen and vice-chairmen of boards of guardians. The office of auditor was a most important province of the Poor Law, and it ought to be most carefully provided that the persons elected to fill it were independent in all respects of those whose accounts were to pass under their inspection. The right hon. Baronet, however, seemed to him to be in favour himself of the Amendment. He had spoken in such coy terms of it, and had altogether adopted such a tone relative to it, that it was evident 753 he was only anxious to ascertain the disposition of the Committee towards it, and if that was favourable to adopt it. If the country was to have a set of Poor Law Commissioners, the next thing to do was to make them as useful as possible, and they could not be employed in a manner more beneficial for the interests of the ratepayers than in looking after the expenditure of the funds raised for the poor. If there was to be a change in the present system, let it be an effectual change, as the hon. Member for Evesham had said. He should follow the example of that hon. Member and vote for the Amendment, with the intention of voting afterwards against the Clause; for he thought it was advisable in case the Committee should not reject it altogether, to get such alteration made in it as would render it least objectionable. It was notorious when an Act of Parliament had been made that no one there could tell what its effect was, and he found the same result would happen with respect to the present Bill. All he wished was, that the right hon. Gentleman would speak out and tell the Committee what he would do; let him declare his anxiety to have a good system of auditing established. He had much better give the power of appointing audtiors to the Commissioners, as the responsibility would then rest upon them, and the House would be able to test the extent of their responsibility; whereas, if they (the Commissioners) were refused this power, they would have the right of saying, in case of any abuse being attributable to those who audited the accounts, "The House of Commons refused to give us the power of nominating the auditors, and we cannot be responsible for the conduct of those functionaries." The ratepayers would be most grateful to the right hon. Baronet for an efficient system of auditing the accounts of the boards of guardians, and believing that the Amendment of the hon. Member would improve the Clause, he should give it his cordial support.
§ Mr. Plumptre
should oppose the Amendment, as the Clause in its present form would give much satisfaction in a local point of view.
§ Mr. B. Hawes
said, that whatever the local feeling referred to by the hon. Member for East Kent might be, the ratepayers at large would greatly approve of the Amendment, if it were carried. He cordially 754 supported it. He thought great distrust would be excited by the power of appointing auditors being vested in officers elected from amongst those who had the expenditure of the funds intrusted to them. They would say, and very naturally, "Either let us appoint auditors, or vest their nomination in the Commissioners, but, at all events, let the appointments be independent of all local interests." He, however, whilst expressing his intention to vote for the Amendment, did not by any means pledge himself not to vote against the Clause when it should be proposed to pass it.
Sir T. D. Acland
remarked upon the extraordinary change that had taken place since last year in the sentiments of hon. Members with respect to the Poor Law Commissioners. Then all was distrust, suspicion, and blame; the only cry was, "Get rid of them altogether." Now the universal desire seemed to be to give them additional power, and to trust them more than even the Government had ever proposed to do. He, for his part, believed the Government had done the best towards ameliorating the Poor Law by the present measure, and he should support the Clause as it originally stood.
§ The Committee then divided on the question that the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause:—Ayes 132; Noes 39; Majority 93.
§ On the question that the Clause as amended stand part of the Bill,
§ Captain Pechell
rose, to move the addition of a proviso, to exempt parishes under local acts from the interference of the Poor Law Commissioners with respect to the auditing of the accounts. The whole discussion for the last two hours had turned upon the question whether the auditors should be appointed by the Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of boards of guardians, or the whole power should be vested in the Commissioners; and he was sorry to find that some of his hon. Friends seemed disposed to give up the control of places under local acts to the Government in this respect. The Committee should hear in mind that this Clause as it stood would strike at the very root of out-door relief; and he called upon all those hon. Members who, when upon the hustings, declared that they would oppose or ameliorate all harsh measures, to assist him in his attempt to add this proviso. Would they allow the Government to place large 755 towns and cities under the control of these auditors, who would have the power of disallowing any item of out-door relief which they deemed contrary to the regulations lately issued by the Poor Law Commissioners? True, eight cases were stated in which out-door relief might be given, but not one of them was that case in which it ought to be given. There was already sufficient remedy for abuses, because the vestry could appeal to the quarter sessions against any improper expenditure of the public money.
§ Sir J. Graham
said, the Clause had already been so fully discussed, that it would be a waste of time to dwell upon it; still, he was unwilling to leave the remarks of the hon. and gallant Member altogether unnoticed. If this Clause was useful and necessary in respect to the unions which were under the control of the general law, he did not see why it should not be so with regard to places governed by local acts. He did not see any grounds for exempting them from the examination of an auditor, whose duty it would be to exercise a proper control over those who expended the public money.
was not disappointed at the meagre reasons given by the right hon. Baronet for not agreeing to the proposed proviso. But the interference of the Poor Law Commissioners with parishes who manage their poor well under local acts, was not wanted, and would be productive of no good effects.
§ Mr. Muntz
assured the Government and the Committee that his constituents, of all classes and parties, were decidedly averse to this interference with guardians who had conducted their affairs well under their own Acts. He could speak of guardians after twenty years' knowledge of them, that they required no such interference. He hoped the Government would think seriously of this matter.
§ Mr. T. Duncombe
said, that this Clause was thought to be objectionable, not only by parishes in the country, but by all the large metropolitan parishes, Marylebone, St. James, and St. George. [Sir J. Graham: They are exempted.] No; that did not appear to be the case. The right hon. Baronet said, if the new system of auditing was good for the rest of England, it was good for the parishes under local Acts. [Sir J. Graham: Hear, hear.] Upon the same principle the Government ought to apply the New Poor Law 756 to all England; for if it was good for the rest of England, it must be good for all the parishes which were governed under Hobhouse's Act, or any local Act, Why, then, did they not come boldly forward, and repeal all the local Acts, the Gilbert Acts, and the Hobhouse Acts? He could then understand what they were about. Let them not do that by these underhand means of a new system of auditing. He should certainly vote for the Motion of his hon. and gallant Friend. When this Bill was introduced, he understood that it was to be a sort of modification of the existing law; but the fact was, it would make it more offensive than before. They would bring the odium and opposition of all the parishes under local Acts to bear on the New Poor Law; and he really thought that the sooner this Bill was thrown out the better, if they could not bring forward a more acceptable measure.
§ Mr. S. Crawford
also protested against the Clause in its present form, and said, that his constituents at Rochdale felt as hostile to it as the inhabitants of other places.
§ The Committee divided on the question that the proviso be added:—Ayes 38; Noes 139: Majority 101.
§ Mr. Escott
asked whether some provision could not be made to exempt from the operation of this Clause those places in which the present system of auditing accounts bad given general satisfaction, allowing it to have operation only in cases where abuses had existed?
§ Sir J. Graham
was understood to say, that if the hon. Member could point out any mode by which this could be accomplished, he was ready to take the suggestion into consideration.
§ On the question that the Clause as amended stand part of the Bill, the Committee again divided:—Ayes 137; Noes 44: Majority 93.
|List of the AYES.|
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Bodkin, W. H.|
|A'Court, Capt.||Boldero, H. G.|
|Adderley, C. B.||Botfield, B.|
|Alford, Visct.||Bouverie, hon. E. P.|
|Bailey, J.||Bowles, Adm.|
|Baillie, Col.||Bowring, Dr.|
|Baring, hon. W. B.||Bramston, T. W.|
|Barneby, J.||Brisco, M.|
|Barrington, Visct.||Broadley, H.|
|Beckett, W.||Brotherton, J.|
|Bentinck, Lord G.||Bruce, Lord E.|
|Beresford, Major||Buck, L. W.|
|Blackburne, J. I.||Buller, E.|
|Buller, Sir J. Y.||Lowther, hon. Col.|
|Burroughes, H. N.||M'Neill, D.|
|Caveudish, hon. G. H.||Manners, Lord C. S.|
|Chelsea, Visct.||Martin, C. W.|
|Childers, J. W.||Masterman, J.|
|Christie, W. D.||Maxwell, hon. J. P.|
|Clayton, R. R.||Meynell, Capt.|
|Clerk, Sir G.||Mitcalf, H.|
|Clive, hon. R. H.||Mitchell, T. A.|
|Cochrane, A.||Morgan, O.|
|Cockburn, rt. hn. Sir G.||Morris, D.|
|Cole, hon. H. A.||Newry, Visct.|
|Corry, rt. hon. H.||Nicholl, rt. hon. J.|
|Cowper, hon. W. F.||Ogle, S. C. H.|
|Cripps, W.||Owen, Sir J.|
|Curteis, H. B.||Packe, C. W.|
|Denison, E. B.||Palmer, G.|
|D'Eyncourt, rt. hn. C. T.||Patten, J. W.|
|Dickinson, F. H.||Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.|
|Douglas, Sir C. E.||Peel, J.|
|Douglas, J. D. S.||Pennant, hn. Col.|
|Duncan, G.||Plumptre, J. P.|
|Duncombe, hou. A.||Plumridge, Capt.|
|Eliot, Lord||Pringle, A.|
|Farnbam, E. B.||Pusey, P.|
|Fellowes, E.||Rashleigh, W.|
|Fitzmaurice, hon. W.||Rice, E. R.|
|Fitzroy, hon. H.||Rolleston, Col.|
|Flower, Sir J.||Round, J.|
|Forbes, W.||Rushbrooke, Col.|
|Forster, M.||Scott, R.|
|Fremantle, rt. hn. Sir T.||Seymour, Sir H. B.|
|Gardner, J. D.||Smith, rt. hon. R. V.|
|Gaskell, J. Milnes||Smith, rt. hn. T. B. C.|
|Gill, T.||Somerset, Lord G.|
|Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.||Sotheron, T. H. S.|
|Gladstone, Capt.||Stanley, Lord|
|Gordon, hon. Capt.||Stock, Mr. Serj.|
|Goring, C.||Sturt, H. C.|
|Goulburn, rt. hon. H.||Sutton, hon. H. M.|
|Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.||Talbot, C. R. M.|
|Granby, Marq. of||Thesiger, Sir F.|
|Hamilton, J. H.||Thompson, Aid.|
|Hawes, B.||Trench, Sir F. W.|
|Herbert, hon. S.||Trotter, J.|
|Hope, hon. C.||Vernon, G. H.|
|Howard, hn. E. G. G.||Vesey, hon. T.|
|Howard, P. H.||Vivian, J. H.|
|Hughes, W. B.||Waddington, H. S.|
|Hutt, W.||Warburton, H.|
|Ingestre, Visct.||Wawn, J. T.|
|Irton, S.||Wilshere, W.|
|Jermyn, Earl||Wodehouse, E.|
|Knatchbull, rt. hn. Sir E.||Wood, Col.|
|Knight, H. G.||TELLERS.|
|Lemon, Sir C.||Young, J.|
|Lincoln, Earl of||Lennox, Lord A.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Ackers, J.||Dugdale, W. S.|
|Aldam, W.||Duncombe, T.|
|Alix, J. P.||Egerton, W. T.|
|Arkwright, G.||Escott, B.|
|Bankes, G.||Etwall, R.|
|Barnard, E. G.||Fleetwood, Sir P. H.|
|Collett, J.||Forman, T. S.|
|Crawford, W. S.||Fuller, A. E.|
|Darby, G.||Gore, M.|
|Gore, W. O.||Maclean, D.|
|Greenaway, C.||Manners, Lord J.|
|Hall, Sir B.||Miles, P. W. S.|
|Henley, J. W.||Mundy, E. M.|
|Hervey, Lord A.||Muntz, G. F.|
|Hindley, C.||O'Brien, A. S.|
|Hodgson, F.||O'Connell, M. J.|
|Hodgson, R.||Pechell, Capt.|
|Hussey, A.||Wakley, T.|
|Hussey, T.||Williams, W.|
|James, Sir W. C.||Wortley, hn. J. S.|
|Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.||TELLERS.|
|Langstone, J. H.||Sibthorp, Col.|
|McGeachy, F. A.||Borthwick, P.|
§ [It seems sufficient to give the names on the last division only, and we therefore omit those on the two divisions for amending the Clause.]
§ Clause agreed to.
§ Clauses to the 34th agreed to. House resumed.
§ Committee to sit again the next day.