HC Deb 22 March 1847 vol 91 cc269-71

wished to call the attention of the right hon. Baronet the Secret- ary of State for the Home Department to a subject of great importance—the enormous immigration of Irish paupers into Liverpool and other parts of England. In a letter, written by a person in authority at Liverpool, it was stated that— Many reports were circulated of the cause of this influx of strangers—such as their being forced from Ireland, sent over by societies, and many other tales, which induced me to send, on the 19th of January, two experienced and intelligent police constables of the 'detective force' of this borough to Ireland, for the purpose of ascertaining, if possible, the real and ostensible cause of emigration. These officers travelled through the counties of Kildare, King's County, Westmeath, Roscommon, Galway, Mayo, and Sligo—mixing with people of different grades—and the result of their inquiries may be summed up thus. The landlord or his agent, perceiving their little stock vanishing, and no rent forthcoming, applied for a process of ejectment; the cottier and his family, without hesitation, put everything portable upon their backs, and make their way towards Dublin, or some other seaport, determined to reach England, where they all understand they will not be allowed to starve. The constables gave the names of certain landlords and their agents, who have been most pressing upon their tenants, which it would be unwise in me, perhaps, to promulgate; and I will merely say, that on one estate notices had been served on 1,400 tenants; that 1,100 processes were heard and determined in one week in one town, where 5,600 were said to be still pending; and that one attorney in the same barony had 3,000 defences in his hand at one time. Thus much as regarded Liverpool, at which place no less than 30,000 Irish paupers arrived during the last month, the total number that had reached that town being upwards of 60,000. Then, as regarded Newport, in South Wales, he found the following statement:— Overwhelming Immigration of the Irish Poor to Newport.—The streets of our town present an alarming and lamentable appearance, being literally crowded with famishing and ball-naked strangers from the most distressed parts of Ireland, several shiploads of whom, amounting to many hundreds, have been huddled together in the holds of coal vessels for this country at the expense of local committees, to lessen the number of famishing creatures at home. Five of the perishing beings who were removed from the hold of that floating pest-house, the Wanderer, at the risk of the lives of charitable gentlemen, have since died; and, in another case, it is known that the captain of a vessel absolutely forced two poor women with children from on board, into the snow on shore, during the late severe weather, at half-past ten o'clock at night, below Pillgwenlly, who, from weakness, then lay down to perish, and would have sunk, were it not for the humanity of two poor men accidentally passing, and who carried them on their backs to a place of warmth and shelter for the night. He wished to ask, whether the right hon. Gentleman (Sir G. Grey) had had his at- tention called to this subject, and whether the first of the cases was a solitary instance of the kind or not?


replied, that he had received information of the circumstance alluded to by the hon. Baronet. At the same time, he had been assured on authority which, he believed, could be relied upon, that there was a solitary instance in which there had been official interference for the removal of Irish paupers to England. This was the only case which rested on what he regarded as authentic evidence.