HC Deb 14 August 1846 vol 88 cc725-6

The House in Committee of Supply.


proposed that a sum of 133,000l. should be voted to defray the expenses incurred for the relief of distress arising out of the failure of the potato crop in Ireland.


understood it had been stated that a further sum would not be required from the Consolidated Fund, but that whatever money would be required afterwards should be repaid. Now, he objected to the principle of taxing the people of this country to relieve the distress in Ireland. If there were no other means for relieving that distress besides taxing the public, he could not conscientiously oppose the tax. But he considered this sum of money, not so much a grant to the Irish people as to the Irish landlords; and he said, if they had the same system of poor laws there as existed in this country, they would not be called on to make this grant. It was, he repeated, a most unjust principle to tax the people of this country for this purpose, when the distress might be as well removed by compelling the possessors of the land to maintain their own poor, as they did in England. Why should this difference exist? He was surprised that Irish Members did not repudiate such a system. The land of Ireland, if properly cultivated, by giving employment to the poor, could produce twice as much as it did at present. Did they mean to go on with this tax whenever this distress occurred? He had been informed by an Irish gentleman, that the people in the south of Ireland had refused to work on account of this relief. Parliament ought to be informed that this money would be required. He had been informed, in reply to a question, by the late Chancellor of the Exchequer, that no more money would be given for this purpose, and he thought the House should be informed of the intention to grant this sum, which was a departure from the usual course.

Vote agreed to.