§ SIR H. W. BARRON
said, his object was to have the poor chargeable to the respective parishes to which they belonged. The electoral divisions in Ireland were so large that it was impossible to carry out the great objects of the Bill. By increasing the number of those divisions, the landlords of Ireland might be stimulated to give employment to the poor; for the more they limited the sphere of taxation, the more the landlord would be inclined to have the poor usefully employed upon his property. In Ireland the population was 8,000,000, and the acreage 19,000,000. In England the population was 17,000,000, and the acreage 37,000,000. Yet in Ireland the electoral divisions were only 2,000, while in England there were 15,000 parishes. His plan was simply to substitute parishes in Ireland for electoral divisions, and that wherever a parish exceeded 6,000 acres in extent, the Poor Law Commissioners should have the power of sub- 339 dividing it, taking care that in no case the property of individual proprietors should be separated. This plan would involve no difficulty, as no now valuations or computations would require to be made. It might be argued against him by those in favour of union rating, particularly by the hon. Member for Limerick, that if they narrowed the electoral divisions, or narrowed the responsibilities of the landlord, they would give a premium to landlords to eject the poor from their estates, and drive them into the towns, where they would congregate and increase the rates. That objection was met by the Amendment introduced by the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) in the 10th Clause, which provided, "that whenever the rating exceeded 2s. 6d. in the year, then the surplus should be charged on the union at large." This Amendment would compel landlords to support all such of their tenants who might apply for relief at the workhouse within three years after they had ejected them, and that, he thought, would be a complete bar to the danger which was apprehended by the large towns in reference to this Bill. The hon. Baronet concluded by moving, as an Amendment to the clause—That all relief given under this Act be chargeable solely to the parish where the person relieved may have resided for the three preceding years; and in case the said parish should exceed six thousand acres of land, that then and in such case the said parish may be divided into two or more divisions, by the order and under the direction of the Poor Law Commissioners, in such manner as not to place in separate divisions any property belonging to one and the same proprietor; and when so divided, then that the person so relieved be chargeable to the said division of the said parish where the said person may have so resided.
§ VISCOUNT SANDON
said, the proposition of the hon. Baronet seemed to him so essential to the working of the Bill, that he could not see how the great purposes of a poor law could be met without it. If the House expected by this Bill to make the whole poor of Ireland into paupers, they would not pass it; they would not wish to throw two or three millions of people permanently upon the poor rates; but they hoped to produce a state of things by which a new stimulus would be produced to industry. Unless, therefore, the Bill stimulated to new action the landlords of Ireland, who were the only agents through whom the country could be regenerated—for they only, and nobody else, could be everywhere—he did not see how any other effect could follow than that of converting 340 a set of circulating beggars into fixed mendicants. In the first instance, whether the revolution in the employment of industry took ten or twenty years, every man must have as strong an interest as possible to exert himself, and to sacrifice anything for the purpose of confining attention to the land. It was quite clear that the divisions under which it was proposed to administer relief were too large to have that operation; they extended over too wide a surface, and the stimulus was not strong enough upon landlords. At all times it was required that an Irish landlord should be something more than a common man—he ought to be almost more than an heroic character, for he had to overcome more difficulties, with more enfeebled means, than any man on the face of the earth. He (Lord Sandon) did not say the proposition of the hon. Baronet was precisely the one he should have made himself; but the principle was so essential, that he could not but hope it might be adopted. It was said that it would be a premium upon ejectment, and that it would be a return to some portion of the feudal system. There was by the existing system a strong premium upon ejectments. Ejectments were going on, into the highway, into the large towns, and into England, so that even if it had this effect, we should be no worse off than before; but the objection was met by the proposal of the hon. Baronet the Member for Waterford, for giving the right of settlement upon the land from which the party might be ejected. From the first mooting of the question, it had appeared to him that this principle was almost the only one of importance in the Bill. Without it the Bill would be a total failure, and beggary be continued. Subdivisions like those proposed would make both existing and future landlords—for some change in the property of Ireland must take place—exert themselves to make the Bill a blessing to the country, instead of a burden.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
admitted that under any poor law it was not desirable for the area of taxation to be so large as to deprive proprietors of all inducements to a proper cultivation of their property. At the same time, in his opinion, it would be a false principle to arrange a poor-law system so that each proprietor should take care only of the poor upon his own particular estate, without consideration as to what was going on beyond. He had upon a former discussion used the word "feudal," 341 with reference to the parochial division; but he only intimated thereby that he did not think it suitable to this Bill. The principle adopted was to take the electoral districts as the area of taxation. The electoral districts were not so enormously extensive in Ireland as his noble Friend seemed to imagine. In some instances they were not more than 6,000 or 7,000 acres; there might be some larger; but the average population of the whole, he believed, was but 15,000. There would be great inconvenience if the parochial division were adopted. That was a very old division; the parishes were of the greatest variety in size, whilst they were not more numerous, for there were but 2,500 parishes in Ireland, whilst the electoral divisions amounted to 2,600. There was no machinery adapted to the parochial divisions as there was to the electoral districts. The object, however, of the Motion of his hon. Friend was apparent, for he proposed that where the parishes were large they should be subdivided, that every proprietor might provide for his own poor without regard to any other. The State must consider communities and not individuals—a principle familiar to the English poor law. In the parishes of England no inquiry was made as to which property the poor belonged; the principle was acted upon of dealing with communities and not individual proprietors. The divisions, too, were not so large as to prevent proprietors from exerting themselves for the interests of the poor; and there would be the utmost advantage to Ireland, by obliging the proprietors to meet together and combine for a common purpose of relieving the poor. It would produce the greatest benefit to the operations for relief, and socially there would be great advantage from the mingling together of men of different classes, religion, and politics. The principle of combined exertion for the relief of the poor was one which had many advantages, and was, in his opinion, greatly to be preferred to the system of individual proprietors exerting themselves singly for a similar object; and feeling that it was so much superior, he should be sorry to do anything to discourage it. He hoped, therefore, that the House would not encourage the contrary principle, and he could not agree to the Amendment.
MR. A. STAFFORD O'BRIEN
did not think it possible for the Commissioners to arrange the area taxation of Ireland with reference to every particular property, 342 however desirable it might be to alter the system. They should necessarily allow the Poor Law Commissioners great discretion in this matter. He would not go at further length into the question on this clause, as the question relating to the principle of electoral divisions was to be raised on the 10th clause. He was in favour of small area divisions of taxation, and opposed to large ones.
MR. VILLIERS STUART
said, that the proposal of his hon. Friend the Member for Waterford, would, if carried into effect, place a large number of persons on the union at large, and consequently would not effect the object which it had in view.
§ MR. M. BELLEW
said, that a measure had been introduced which would be a great pressure on Ireland. They should, in looking to the proposition before them, consider the practicability of remodelling any of the electoral divisions which required it.
§ MR. SHAW
concurred in the principle of charging the rate upon the smaller area. But the division by electoral districts had been already established by the Irish Poor Law; and upon the whole he thought it better than the parochial division. He considered some of the electoral divisions too large; but the number of electoral divisions and of parishes was not materially different; whereas parishes varied much more in their size, and were of a more straggling form than the electoral divisions. They had also less regard to the ownership of property, as the electoral divisions had been formed with a view of not separating properties. He would, therefore, recommend the hon. Baronet (Sir H. W. Barron) not to press his Amendment, but to reserve the consideration of the question of a union or a smaller rating to the next, the 10th Clause.
§ SIR H. W. BARRON
replied. The right hon. Gentleman who had last spoken, and the hon. Member for Northamptonshire, had both expressed themselves favourably towards the principle of smaller divisions; but neither of them had proposed any means to the House for carrying out that principle. If either had pointed out any way in which the system of smaller divisions could be established, he (Sir H. W. Barron) was ready to give up his proposition, and adopt a better. The plan which he proposed was one that had the advantage of requiring no new valuation, and no new trouble, and would be found 343 much better than the existing system of electoral divisions of taxation. Some of the electoral divisions under the existing system were so large, that he knew one which contained no less than 30,000 acres. He would ask the House if such a division as that placed proper responsibility on the landlords, or was calculated to give each sufficient stimulus for the employment of labourers to keep them from going into the workhouse. If the House adopted his plan, they would, take a course which would be calculated to carry out the object of this measure, namely, the employment of the people, and thus, as it were, forcing every landlord to employ the poor on his property. The Amendment which he proposed would tend to make this a wholesome and efficient measure; but if it were not adopted, he believed that the Act would break down in its operation, or turn out not to be a wholesome and efficient measure. He was confident that unless the House adopted the principle of his Amendment in some shape, the measure would fail in its operation.
§ MR. G. A. HAMILTON
called the attention of the Committee to the inconvenience which would arise in carrying the Amendment into effect, in consequence of the great length of some of the parishes in Ireland.
MR. DILLON BROWNE
said, that the great object of the Bill was to induce the landlords of Ireland to give employment to the poor, and that would be best done by establishing uniformity of interest and uniformity of rating. Some inconvenience might arise in particular cases from that uniformity of rating; but, generally speaking, it would be found advantageous in carrying out the object of the Bill.
§ SIR H. W. BARRON
said, that there were in Ireland 2,500 parishes, of which there were between 600 and 700 that could be divided, and thus the whole number of divisions would be 3,500 instead of 2,600, as at present.
§ Amendment withdrawn.
§ Clause agreed to.
§ On Clause 10,
MR. M. J. O'CONNELL
rose for the purpose of submitting to the House the Amendment upon this Clause of which he had given notice—an Amendment which he was induced to bring before the House solely from his conviction of the great importance of the subject to which it related. 344 As the representative of a county which, contained very few towns, he thought it more especially his duty to bring forward this Amendment, the effect of which, if carried, would be to place the taxation for the relief of the poor not on those smaller divisions of which they had heard so much to-night, and understood so little, but upon the union divisions at large. When the Poor Law Bill for Ireland was first passed, an attempt was made by Mr. Lucas, then Member for Monaghan, but he was defeated by a large majority. In the other House of Parliament a proposition for that rating was soon after brought in by the Duke of Wellington; and as his influence was reckoned irresistible, the Ministry acquiesced in his proposition, contrary to the course which they had taken in that House, and contrary, as he understood, to the advice of the Poor Law Commissioners. The proposition was defended on the ground of the great advantage which would arise from encouraging the landlord in Ireland to take care of the condition of those on his property, and of rewarding the good and punishing the bad landlord. It did not need much argument on his part to prove that it had not succeeded, for he believed that every one in that House who had advocated district rating now wished that the districts were smaller; but he would quote one paper which had been sent to him by Sir M. Chapman, and which would afford very convincing testimony of the effect of the system. The paper to which he alluded contained resolutions drawn up by the grand jury of the county of Westmeath, and, with the exception of a fanciful notion of taxing fundholders for poor rates, was very well worthy of attention. The grand jury of Westmeath stated, as the result of their experience, that the system of rating by electoral divisions was not a just and equal system of rating, and that it had failed in securing that adequate supervision of the poorer tenantry which ought to be the object of a good system of poor laws. If, then, it had not produced the beneficial effect of securing the supervision of the farmers in the district, what had been the effect of the system on another class of the community—a class more entitled to consideration than any other? What had been its effect upon the towns, and upon the rural districts encompassing them? He would read a petition from the union in which he himself resided, to show what that effect was. The petitioners stated that while the provision in question had 345 not stimulated local employment, it had subjected the electoral division of Killarney to taxation for the support of three-fourths of the paupers in the union. [An Hon. MEMBER: Does the petition proceed from the guardians?] It did not, but from the landowners, inhabitants, and ratepayers of the Killarney electoral division, and had 900 signatures attached to it. The charge for that district of the union for the year ending the 5th of March, 1846, was 311l., while the charge for the whole union was 478l. He would also call the attention of the House to another petition, which had been presented by his hon. Friend on his right. It was from the guardians of the poor and the ratepayers of the Thurles division, and they complained that Thurles was rated at 3s. 1½d. in the pound for the support of the poor, while the adjoining division had not been rated one farthing. The hon. Member for Northamptonshire said triumphantly the other night, when opposing the principle which the Amendment which he was about to propose would embody, that in no case could an instance be found where two electoral divisions had been joined together for the purposes of rating, although the guardians had the power of uniting them. No doubt that was true, for those who paid little for rates were not likely willingly to take a fair share of their neighbours' burdens; such superhuman virtue was not to be expected in these times. He feared, however, that if these inequalities continued, they would lead to fearful disturbances in many parts of the country. He feared that they might lead to collisions and breaches of the peace, quite as bad and more dangerous than any which had been seen of late years in Ireland. He had endeavoured to show how unequally the present system of rating operated, and he would in a word or two show how unjust its operation was. The ejected tenants who were driven from the rural districts became in their destitution a burden not on the district which they had left, but on the towns in which they had passed a small part of their time. The Westmeath gentlemen to whom he had alluded before, adopted the plan of charging the rate for the relief of the in-door poor upon the union; and where out-door relief was given, it was charged upon the townland division to which the pauper belonged. The grand jury of his (Mr. M. J. O'Connell's) own county stated that they preferred that the electoral districts should be reformed, or be subdi- 346 vided into relief districts. For his own part, however, he could not see any means of providing proper machinery in such a case. If the area of the present electoral division were to be diminished one half, it would only inflict an injury on some of the best landed proprietors of Ireland, and make a dozen Cholesburys in every union in Ireland. He was inclined, therefore, to come to the conclusion that the simplest and best plan was the one which he proposed, of charging the rates to be raised for the relief of the poor on the entire area of the union. He admitted that the proposition in the Bill, which directed that all expenses beyond a sum of 15d. in the pound should be charged on the union at large, was a considerable improvement on the present law; but he thought that it would lead to carelessness in the management of the rates when they fell below that amount. The attempt to localise responsibility had failed; and the best way was to make the circle of responsibility and the circle of taxation co-extensive. He knew he had no chance of enforcing his views in the House at present, as he should be opposed by hon. Members opposite, and he was afraid by hon. Members on his own side of the House also. He should, however, take the sense of the Committee on the subject of the Amendment, which he would now propose. The hon. Member then moved that the words after the word "that" in the clause should be omitted, and other words inserted, charging all expenses to be henceforth incurred for the relief of destitute poor persons in Ireland, whether under the provisions of the present Bill, or those of the Statute 1st and 2nd Victoria, c. 56, upon the union at large.
§ MR. BELLEW
was understood to oppose the Amendment, although he admitted that in the country districts of Ireland in particular there was a strong, but he thought fallacious, feeling in favour of the Motion of the hon. Member for Kerry.
SIR R. FERGUSON
supported the clause. There was only one union in Ireland in which a general system of rating prevailed, and, which, when the out-door system commenced, was forced to have recourse to the electoral system. Did the question come to division, he felt sure that there would be a large majority in favour of the clause as it stood.
§ COLONEL RAWDON
, in support of the Amendment, cited a number of instances in which the rates in the towns were ex- 347 ceedingly high, whilst those in the rural districts were merely nominal. He would cordially support a union rating. The hon. and gallant Gentleman referred to a letter which he held in his hand, and which he had received from the hon. Member for Mallow. The letter stated that the writer had found, upon going to a place called Churchtown, to collect information relative to the removal of tenants, that twenty-four houses had been pulled down, and that others were awaiting a like fate. The consequence would be, that upwards of 300 human beings would be cast upon the world, and have a legal claim to be charged on the Mallow electoral division. He must caution the Committee that there already existed an almost insupportable pressure of local taxation in the towns, and that if it were proposed still further to increase the burden, the most serious consequences would arise, leading to the greatest difficulty in the collection of rates.
§ SIR JAMES GRAHAM
understood that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Kerry intended to divide the House upon the Amendment which he had proposed; otherwise the very important question which it involved could be with more convenience discussed upon the Motion of which his hon. Friend the Member for Northamptonshire had given notice. The Irish Members would, however, he hoped, pardon him for stating his opinions upon the subject before he gave his vote. He feared that on the eve of the great and alarming, although perhaps unavoidable, experiment to be tried in Ireland, the landowners of that country would derive but small consolation from the discussion of the point now at issue by English landlords, who, notwithstanding their experience of the operation of the poor law in this country, would be found to differ materially from each other. Indeed, as far as he was concerned, he was bound to confess that even his own strong opinion had recently been changed as regarded the subject before the House, by the experience which he had acquired. As to the Irish Poor Law itself, when it was first introduced by the noble Lord the Member for the city of London, he had given it a very anxious and hesitating support. He doubted then whether any material benefit could be derived from its operation when no right to relief was conferred by it, and neither settlement nor power of removal had been introduced. These had been his objections to the measure. The noble Lord combated these objections; and in candour he 348 felt bound to state that the noble Lord was right, and that he had been wrong. His experience led him to the conclusion, that, considering the distressing circumstances of Ireland, great public advantages had been gained by the poor law which had been passed, imperfect as at the time of its introduction he had deemed it. What were these advantages? Ireland was divided into districts, perhaps not of the most convenient extent possible, but still well fitted for the purpose of administering relief to the poor. In the centre of each of these districts was a workhouse. In each of these districts there was a mixed representative body conversant with the system of distributing relief to the poor. There also existed a central controlling authority in Dublin; and, besides this, an equal valuation of property for poor-law purposes existed all over Ireland. These were the principal advantages of the enactment; but there was advantage not only in what the noble Lord had done, but in what he had avoided doing, although he (Sir James Graham) doubted at the time whether the noble Lord was right in the course which he had pursued. The noble Lord had not introduced any law of settlement, nor had he given any power of removal. Now, subsequent experience had made him (Sir J. Graham) think, so far from assimilating the Irish to the English Poor Law, that the time had arrived when the law of England, in respect to these important features, must itself be reviewed; and when it might be found expedient, if not to abolish, at least greatly to restrain, the law of settlement in connexion with the law of removal. Having made these acknowledgments, he must say that he experienced distrust in his own judgment in coming to any conclusion upon the important point now before the House. At all events, it was a choice of conflicting difficulties, let their decision be what it might. Much was, no doubt, to be said in favour of the Motion of the hon. Member for Kerry; and what could be thus said, had been well and pointedly urged in the address of the hon. Member to the House. He (Sir J. Graham) was, however, quite convinced that under the law of rating in Ireland as now established, in many cases towns were exposed to suffer great hardship. It could not be denied that what had been called good management of an estate in Ireland, and that at a day not long gone by, consisted in diminishing the population upon that estate—in clearing it; and the effect 349 of those clearances had been, to drive the poorer portion of the population from the rural districts to the towns, thereby considerably adding to the amount of pauperism in the towns where the ejected tenants were thus congregated. On the other hand, the rural districts had, with reference to the union rate as now collected, a fair primâ facie ground for complaint. Although, undoubtedly, there was a general analogy between the union charges in this country and in Ireland, still there was this important difference—the union charges were here defrayed out of an union rate, which was based on the average of contributions of each parish to the poor for three years antecedently to the passing of the Poor Law Amendment Act, and the union rate was levied with a reference to the past pauperism of the subdivisions of the union. Such was not the case in Ireland. The system of collection had reference, not to the pauperism, but to the wealth, of each subdivision of the district. There the rate was levied with reference not to the number of the poor, but to the rental of the landed property of the district. Amid the conflicts of these rival interests, it was very difficult to arrive at any conclusion which should not contain in itself some germ of evil. To the proposition of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Kerry, that we should subject all the unions to an uniform poundage-rate, there were insuperable objections—objections which be could not state more clearly than he found them mentioned in a letter which he held in his hand from Mr. Gulson, a gentleman whose experience and authority on the question would be universally admitted. The evidence of Mr. Gulson before the Settlement Committee was in the hands of hon. Members. In that evidence, as related to England (the circumstances of which country were widely different from those of Ireland), Mr. Gulson was in favour of a change of parochial to union rating; and he assigned very strong reasons in favour of such a proposal. But, with respect to Ireland, he wished to refer to Mr. Gulson's remarks as to the working of the present system of electoral divisions, and to the incalculable advantage which was derived in making it the self-interest of each of the landowners and occupiers in the electoral division to make the amount of pauperism as small as possible. Mr. Gulson, writing at Drogheda, on the 2nd of February, 1843, says—I see an incalculable advantage at work with 350 reference to the care exercised over electoral divisions, both by guardians, ratepayers, and landlords, which would cease when self-interest no longer prompted them to exertion. I see work offered to men by the agent, and by the ratepayers, interested in a particular electoral division, solely because the man and his family would otherwise be applicants for admission into the workhouse. It not unfrequently happens at the boards in my district, on a man applying, that the warden says he will find the applicant work in the division at fair wages, and I often see the guardians exerting themselves legitimately to find employment for those who would otherwise be destitute; because, if taken into the workhouse, the persons would be a charge on the ratepayers of the division. Only last week this occurred in the cases of two applicants at Monaghan, for both of whom employment at fair wages was found. If cases of this kind come under my own eye, it is fair to conclude the same goes on in a tenfold degree where I know nothing of it. Throughout my district, the large farmers, and the guardians, and the agents, are very active in keeping down the expenses of their several divisions; and I constantly, in private, hear them consulting as to the best mode of employing the people, rather than let them go (able-bodied) into the workhouse. If the electoral divisions were done away with, all this stimulus would cease to operate.When the Government introduced the Bill containing a clause abolishing the electoral district charge, and substituting the union charge, he was bound to say that he had thought the arrangement, as then proposed, on the whole the best. He did think, that in the case of towns there was so much hardship under the present system of rating in electoral divisions only (though he was not insensible to the advantages pointed out by Mr. Gulson), that on the whole it was necessary to enlarge the area on which the new burden should fall. He thought the circumstances of England and Ireland with reference to the employment of labourers from the rural districts not only dissimilar, but in many cases swayed by opposite influences, which should be well weighed and considered: and though he did not go the length of the noble Member for Liverpool (Lord Sandon), still he admitted there was much force in many of his objections. He did not believe that the best system would be the abolition of the electoral divisions, and the substitution of an universal poundage rate throughout the union. On the other hand, he must admit, that the fact of the towns being subjected to great hardship from measures often taken by the landlords for the clearing of their estates, and the consequent flocking of their ejected tenantry into the towns, was well worthy of careful consideration. On the whole, he did not think it possible to devise any course 351 more just and expedient than the middle one now suggested for adoption in the clause as it stood in the Bill. He did not say that the maximum charge of 1s. 3d. for the half-year was precisely the amount which it was indispensable to retain. It was very important to consider what should be fixed in that respect, for the equity of the measure depended on that amount. He should state that there was an obvious objection to fixing the amount of the rating of the electoral division for a half-year, because by doing so, the principle of thrift in the administration of the law was altogether discouraged, inasmuch as inducement was held out to each electoral division to reach the maximum charge as soon as possible, in order to throw the surplus off the electoral division and on the union rate. He had heard it suggested that the converse of the proposal of the Government was that most desirable: that was, to begin by an union rate of a fixed amount for half a year, and to enact that everything beyond that fixed union rate should fall on the different electoral divisions. There was unquestionably the right principle of thrift in that arrangement, because it would be the interest of every electoral division to make the union rate go as far as possible, knowing that any charge beyond that amount must fall separately and distinctly on each electoral division that was found to have exceeded the sum fixed for the union rate. It was not for him to propose any such alteration; but if the Government thought it worthy of adoption, there were strong arguments in favour of such an arrangement. But if not proposed by them, seeing that they had the best sources of information, and the choice of difficulties being extremely urgent, he should be guided by the decision at which the Government might arrive. On the whole, he thought that the clause as it was framed was just in principle; and, reserving to himself the right of considering whether 1s. 3d. should be the maximum rating fixed on for the half year, in the main he gave his cordial assent to the Government proposal, and should, therefore, consider it his duty to resist the Amendments of the hon. Members for Northampton and Kerry.
§ SIR G. GREY
said, the original proposal of Government was to allow the in-door relief to be provided for by the present electoral rating, and to enforce a union rating only as to out-door relief. Strong arguments were urged against that plan, and so great a preponderance of feeling 352 against it existed amongst Irish representatives, that it was determined to abandon it. Under these circumstances it was necessary to adopt a course of providing for extreme cases, where there was such an inequality between one electoral division and another, that if an electoral rating only were adhered to it must become overwhelming, and the law must break down. As to the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman, which, though not made in the House before, had been suggested elsewhere, he thought the great difficulty in adopting it, would be to say at what amount the union rate should be fixed. If it were fixed at a very low rate, it would be inoperative as to electoral divisions; and if it were taken at a high figure, it would be in fact a union rating only, it being scarcely probable that any electoral division would incur a higher charge than that fixed for the union. As he said before, be thought 2s. 6d. a year would only apply to extreme cases, for there were only six unions in Ireland in which the average rate exceeded 1s. in the pound, and there were forty-one in which the average was under 6d. Under these circumstances, he thought the clause met fairly extreme cases.
§ MR. SHAW
would vote in favour of rating by electoral districts, rather than by unions at large. He should, therefore, oppose the present Amendment, and support that of his hon. Friend the Member for Northamptonshire (Mr. Stafford O'Brien), for omitting the present clause. The hon. Member for Kerry (Mr. M. J. O'Connell) had referred to the course be (Mr. Shaw) had taken on a former occasion, when Mr. Lucas had proposed a law of settlement for Ireland; but he thought that he could easily vindicate the perfect consistency of that course with the one he was then about to pursue. He had, since the allusion of the hon. Member, referred to Hansard, for what he (Mr. Shaw) had said on the occasion of Mr. Lucas's Motion; and, with the permission of the House, he would read one sentence of it to the Committee. It was as follows:—He (Mr. Shaw) still held the opinion he had expressed in the discussion of the Bill of last year, that it would be simpler, and in all respects better, that there should be neither a law of settlement, nor a right to relief. The terms were not quite convertible; but still he thought it easy to show, that the law of settlement, and the right to relief, were so inseparably connected, that the adoption of the one must inevitably lead to the establishment of the other.Well, then, up to the present time there 353 had been no right to relief in Ireland, and he therefore had objected to any law of settlement; but by that Bill the Government proposed—and the House had determined—to give a right to relief in Ireland with a vengeance. Therefore, although he was not yet prepared for the English law of settlement with all its complication, still he thought the approach to that law which the charging the rate on the electoral division, in preference to the union mode, was essential for the protection and encouragement of those who managed their properties well, and looked after their own poor. He had always been of opinion that the poor law should have been introduced in Ireland very gradually, and by cautious steps in the right direction; whereas he thought that the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) who had first introduced it, was then of the same opinion, but was now taking immense strides in the wrong direction. He had proposed in 1838, and divided the House upon it, that relief in poor-houses should be confined to the aged, the infirm, and the sick; but in that he was overruled, and a discretion was allowed the guardians of granting in-door relief to all the destitute poor whether infirm or able-bodied. Now, that had been extended by conferring the right to in-door relief on all—of out-door relief, without qualification, to the whole class of the permanently disabled, and of out-door relief to the able-bodied labourer, with a qualification which he feared would be no practical safeguard. He, therefore, would grasp at any protection which the rating upon the smaller area could afford; and although he knew it was a question of great difficulty when applied to towns and densely-peopled districts, still it would be no argument to one who took the view that he did to say that those particular localities could not bear up under the limited local rating. He admitted that; but then he said further, extend it to the unions according to your proposed system of out-door relief to the able-bodied; and they will break down too, and even go beyond that, and perpetrate the injustice to the more advanced parts of Ireland, of making the rate in the end a national one throughout all Ireland; and still he believed the national property would sink under it. The noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) said, that his arguments were based upon a supposition that the present calamitous condition of Ireland was always to last. No, he trusted that it would not; but his argument was, that by the present 354 legislation during that state of things, the noble Lord was doing all he could to make it last. For, while nearly half the population of Ireland was receiving public charity, and before they could be weaned from it to any independent subsistence, the Government held out to them the promise of out-door relief as a permanent system under the poor law, which must operate as a temptation to them to continue in dependent pauperism, which it would be contrary to reason and experience to expect them to resist.
§ MR. M'CARTHY
said, the union of Cork comprised fourteen electoral divisions; the rating was 370,000l., and of that there fell on Cork 200,000l., nearly two-thirds of the whole. And what was the proportion of the rating? Six-sevenths of the entire rating of the union fell on the city. This arose from the fact, that from the rural districts near the city, tenants had come into the city who had been displaced by their landlords—had endeavoured to get employment, and had, after twelve months, become chargeable to the city, where they had been resident for that period. At the last audit, accounts for 50,000 rations were approved of, and there was an electoral division on which two rations only were chargeable, although there were several persons from that division receiving relief in the city of Cork. They were dealing with a new system in Ireland—not with the poor law which had existed in England for a very long series of years—and the fair, just, and honest course was to distribute the burdens as equitably as possible.
§ SIR W. JOLLIFFE
did not see that there was any argument against the suggestion made by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Dorchester. It offered many advantages; and as to the amount of the rating, he had known cases in which the rates in England had increased to 17s. in the pound, and he saw no reason why they were to expect a different result in Ireland.
§ MR. CALLAGHAN
said, that it was an error to suppose that the principle of electoral divisions was in the Poor Law Bill as it was originally drawn up. It was carried by way of Amendment in the House of Lords. It was there but an experiment; and he must say, that it had been stated to him, by all descriptions of people in the city which he represented, that the working of this principle pressed most unfairly. There had been several public meet- 355 ings of the inhabitants, of the corporation, and of the ratepayers, and all with one accord pronounced the present system to be iniquitous and unjust. It was supposed that some good might have resulted from bringing the guardians together, in order to fix the quota payable by each electoral division; but the contrary was the result. The opinion of the country had been clearly expressed on this subject by the petitions which had been presented to the House. They found Drogheda, Enniscorthy, Wexford, Mallow, the barony of Leitrim in Galway, Ardee, Thurles, Kilkenny, and Monaghan, petitioning in favour of union rating; whilst, on the other hand, only Waterford, and two or three places of no importance, had forwarded petitions against it. A clergyman, who was well acquainted with his parishioners in the neighbourhood of Cork, on being removed to that town, declared he could recognise upwards of 1,000 paupers living there who by right should be chargeable to his former parish. This was a gross injustice to the ratepayers of the town, and he feared such cases were too common. Whenever a poor man came into a large town, he had nothing to do but apply to the first parish, and was sure of relief. The fact was, that the poor were engendered on the estates of the landed proprietors, and the towns suffered for it. He defied any hon. Member to point out one solitary instance in which a landlord had endeavoured to keep the poor people who had been bred on his estates, or to relieve them; and it appeared to be the sole object of the landlords to drive them out of their land. He wished he could induce the Government to adopt a system of rating which would operate more equally and justly on all classes of the community.
§ MR. SHARMAN CRAWFORD
declared that he had always maintained the opinion that it was most desirable to make the proprietors responsible for the employment of the people; but there were great difficulties in carrying out the system in Ireland under the present circumstances. Many districts were overburdened with paupers, and he felt that some means of relief must be afforded to the landowners; but, under all the circumstances, he thought the proposition of Her Majesty's Government afforded the most reasonable compromise between both parties, and, while he intended to adhere to the principle of local responsibility, he found himself called upon to support the Bill as it stood, The 356 only thing on which he was not fully satisfied was the quantum of the rate, as he thought the maximum might have been fixed at a higher amount; but that could be corrected hereafter.
§ MR. ARCHBOLD
opposed the principle of union rating. He resided in what was called a low-rate district, and yet each pauper in it cost 50l. a year. They had six paupers in the house, and they had to pay 300l. a year for them. So far from agreeing with hon. Members that pauperism was to be attributed to the country, he thought that the facilities afforded by towns for labourers to go away and leave their families, who supported themselves by begging (exchanging the produce of their vocation for small luxuries in the villages), gave great encouragement to mendicancy. He thought union rating would be most injurious to the country at large, and instead of six, they would have innumerable paupers in his own district.
MR. M. J. O'CONNELL
replied: Nothing had occurred in the course of the discussion to shake his opinion on the subject, except the quotation of Mr. Gulson's authority by the right hon. Baronet (Sir James Graham); but he was not the least surprised at that quotation, when he heard it was made in 1843. He could not see on what principle Gentlemen should advocate union settlements and rating in England, and say that Ireland required a different system. He did not trust the predictions they had heard, of injury to the landed interest, particularly when he remembered those which had been uttered in 1838, and were subsequently falsified; and neither those nor the arguments of hon. Gentlemen were sufficiently powerful to induce him not to press the question to a division.
§ The Committee divided on the question, that the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause: — Ayes 120; Noes 25: Majority 95.
|List of the AYES.|
|Acheson, Visct.||Bodkin, J. J.|
|Acton, Col.||Botfield, B.|
|Adderley, C. B.||Bowring, Dr.|
|Aldam, W.||Brooke, Sir A. B.|
|Anson, hon. Col.||Buller, C.|
|Antrobus, E.||Bunbury, W. M.|
|Archbold, R.||Busfeild, W.|
|Baring, rt. hon. F. T.||Byng, rt. hon. G. S.|
|Barnard, E. G.||Carew, W. H. P.|
|Bateson, T.||Cavendish, hon. C. C.|
|Bellew, R. M.||Chapman, B.|
|Bentinck, Lord G.||Chichester, Lord J. L.|
|Bentinck, Lord H.||Cholmeley, Sir M.|
|Berkeley, hon. Capt.||Clay, Sir W.|
|Blakemore, R.||Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G.|
|Cole, hon. H. A.||Mackinnon, W. A.|
|Colebrooke, Sir T. E.||Macnamara, Major|
|Coote, Sir C. H.||Manners, Lord J.|
|Copeland, Ald.||Maule, rt. hon. F.|
|Courtenay, Lord||Maxwell, hon. J. P.|
|Craig, W. G.||Milnes, R. M.|
|Crawford, W. S.||Monahan, J. H.|
|Dawson, hon. T. V.||Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.|
|Denison, J. E.||Newdegate, C. N.|
|Disraeli, B.||Northland, Visct.|
|Dundas, Sir D.||O'Brien, A. S.|
|Ellis, W.||O'Brien, C.|
|Escott, B.||O'Conor Don|
|Evans, W.||Owen, Sir J.|
|Fielden, J.||Parker, J.|
|Ferguson, Sir R. A.||Patten, J. W.|
|Finch, G.||Perfect, R.|
|Fitzgerald, R. A.||Philipps, Sir R. B. P.|
|Forster, M.||Plumridge, Capt.|
|Fox, G. R.||Protheroe, E. D.|
|Fuller, A. E.||Repton, G. W. J.|
|Gisborne, T.||Rich, H.|
|Glynne, Sir S. R.||Romilly, J.|
|Gore, W. R. O.||Ross, D. R.|
|Gore, hon. R.||Russell, Lord J.|
|Goulburn, rt. hon. H.||Sandon, Visct.|
|Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.||Shaw, rt. hon. F.|
|Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.||Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.|
|Grimsditch, T.||Smith, rt. hon. R. V.|
|Grogan, E.||Stuart, W. V.|
|Guest, Sir J.||Strutt, rt. hon. E.|
|Hamilton, G. A.||Thompson, Ald.|
|Hanmer, Sir J.||Thornely, T.|
|Hawes, B.||Trollope, Sir J.|
|Heneage, E.||Tyrell, Sir J. T.|
|Henley, J. W.||Vane, Lord H.|
|Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J.||Verner, Sir W.|
|Hoskins, K.||Walsh, Sir J. B.|
|Inglis, Sir R. H.||Ward, H. G.|
|James, W.||Wilshere, W.|
|Jervis, Sir J.||Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.|
|Jones, Capt.||Wyse, T.|
|Kirk, P.||Young, J.|
|Labouchere, rt. hon. H.|
|Lascelles, hon. W. S.||TELLERS.|
|Lefroy, A.||Hill, Lord Marcus|
|Lindsay, Col.||Tufnell, H.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Blake, M. J.||Ker, D. S.|
|Bright, J.||Lawless, hon. C.|
|Brotherton, J.||Layard, Major|
|Browne, R. D.||M'Carthy, A.|
|Callaghan, D.||M'Donnell, J. M.|
|Collett, J.||Napier, Sir C.|
|Damer, hon. Col.||O'Brien, W. S.|
|Dennistoun, J.||O'Connell, J.|
|Duncan, G.||Wawn, J. T.|
|Ewart, W.||Williams, W.|
|Fitzwilliam, hon. G. W.||Yorke, H. R.|
|Hall, Sir B.||TELLERS.|
|Hatton, Capt. V.||O'Connell, M. J.|
|Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.||Rawdon, Col.|
§ Question put that the 10th Clause stand part of the Bill.
MR. V. SMITH
said, it appeared to him important that the House, before proceeding further with the Bill, should consider the returns moved for by the Under Secretary of the Home Department, show- 358 ing the proportion of the amount of rates collected to that which remained uncollected. In Skibbereen, where the misery was said to be so fearful, 437l. 14s. was the amount of rate collected during the past year, whilst the amount of rate uncollected was 1,242l. 17s. 1d., being just three times the amount of rate collected. This was in the place of which he had heard horrors enough to make the blood run cold. For the whole of Ireland the proportion of rate uncollected to that collected, was 243,632l. to 46,442l. He wished to ask his right hon. Friend, whether he would be inclined to insert any additional powers of compulsory rating, to give the Commissioners power to compel boards of guardians, when they had themselves struck the rate, to proceed to enforce it?
§ SIR G. GREY
said, the Commissioners had already power to apply for a mandamus, by which the collection of the rate could be enforced; and there was one instance in which that power had been exercised.
MR. STAFFORD O'BRIEN
rose to move that the clause be omitted. He, and those who agreed with him, deprecated the addition which this clause would make to the change now proposed, regarding that change as in itself a great evil. There was already a power existing to transfer the charge of maintaining a pauper, in case of necessity, to the union; why then, he would ask, needlessly disturb an arrangement so salutary for the purpose of introducing a regulation which must be applied under all circumstances? Some hon. Gentlemen maintained that the misery of the towns was caused by the clearance of estates, and the determination of the landlords to drive the miserable paupers from their own neighbourhood into the towns; but he would contend that the official correspondence, as well as the Acts of Parliament which had been passed, showed that the landlords were not fairly chargeable with pursuing such a line of conduct. By keeping the districts of moderate dimensions, the Legislature would preserve a stimulus to the landlords to afford employment. If this principle were to be abandoned and another substituted, he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would tell them what it was. Could it be said that 540,000 acres formed an area sufficiently small to maintain that stimulus? In spite of all that was said and written, it was far easier to swamp the property than to relieve the poverty of 359 Ireland. Unless you preserved at some hazards and difficulties the improving landlords, unless you kept them as your seed-corn, if he might use the expression, their difficulties would be worse. The greater the misery and poverty were, the greater the chance that you would swamp the whole union, rather than relieve the electoral division. One great reason why he pressed the right hon. Gentleman to retain the electoral divisions was, that he firmly believed if you altered them at the present moment, the difficulty of collecting the rates would be immeasurably increased. It had been said that this was a question between the towns and the country. If that was the case, were they prepared to sacrifice the greater interest to the less? Was the effect of this clause to be, that the great interest, the mainstay, the prime hope of Ireland, was to be sacrificed? It was of the greatest importance to secure the attendance of farmers at boards of guardians; but if they enacted a union rate, they would inevitably throw the whole management into the hands of the ex-officio guardians. If they sacrificed electoral divisions, they must abandon the principle so strongly recommended to their adoption by the Poor Law Commissioners, of making it the interest of a landed proprietor to look after his own property. What principle did the right hon. Gentleman propose to substitute? The question of a national rate had many arguments in its favour—that of minute divisions had also many advocates; but if they took all the indifference of a national rate, and did not at the same time give the justness of its operation, how could they expect to derive any advantage from the change? He recollected that the present Irish Poor Law was brought forward by the noble Lord at the head of the Government, and that it was improved by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Dorchester (Sir J. Graham); it was then sanctioned and approved of by both parties in the House; and all he asked of them now was, not to disturb that arrangement. The men who requested them not to disturb that arrangement were the men who were connected mainly with the great stay and prop of Ireland—its agriculture. The change was sought for by those—respectable doubtless as they were, and entitled to be listened to with attention—but who, he insisted upon it, represented the smaller interests of Ireland. He, therefore, asked of the right hon. Gentlemen opposite to consider well before they disposed of this 360 question. They were about to bring in an Act—or he believed it had been already brought in—to facilitate the sale of land in Ireland. That, he conceived, would be one of the most excellent and useful Acts introduced this Session; but he asked the Government not to nullify that Act. What English capitalist would avail himself of that Act—what other capitalist would avail himself of that Act—and purchase land in Ireland, except he knew what he had to encounter? If a man purchased property in England, he knew the burdens that were on the estate; but take a man to the neighbourhood, suppose of Limerick, to buy an esstate, he could have no notion of what burdens would be on it, and there would be a very small inducement to him to carry out the bargain. Let it be recollected that he now proposed no diminished area of taxation. He believed that the electoral divisions were in many places too large, and in no place too small, yet he did not suggest that any change was necessary, save what might be worked out by the existing law. It had worked well, and he hoped it would work better, through the instrumentality of the board of Commissioners which it was proposed to appoint; and he asked of them to leave in the power of that board and of the guardians the same discretion which they now possessed. Nothing, he felt, remained for him now to do, consistently with his duty, but boldly to move the omission of this clause.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
said, the hon. Gentleman had asked upon what principle it was Her Majesty's Government had made this proposition with regard to the area of rating; and he could inform the right hon. Gentleman that Her Majesty's Government had not adopted the extreme of any of the principles that had been urged upon their consideration. They had not assented to the proposal of those hon. Members who were connected with towns, that the area of taxation should be in all cases the unions; and they had, on the other hand, agreed to the proposal made by hon. Gentlemen and others connected with the landed interest, that in every case the electoral districts—without reference to the interests of towns—should be adopted. He was aware that this was a difficult and complicated subject. There were some very specious, and possibly some solid arguments that could be urged with reference to it; but all he could say, was this—that on full consideration of the matter, and having consulted with those whom they 361 thought most competent to give an opinion upon it, Her Majesty's Government had come to the conclusion that the course they now proposed, and which was a compromise between the two opposite principles that had been urged upon them, was, on the whole, the most just course that could be proposed to the House. There was certainly one advantage in the principle of the proposal of Her Majesty's Government, namely, that it was a self-acting principle, and he greatly preferred a principle of that kind to leaving a question of this sort to the discretion of any boards of guardians, who might have very contrary interests from one another. He thought it better to adopt some fair principle, which should be self-acting. The hon. Gentleman had said there were difficulties in the way of this proposal, but that there were no difficulties in the way of the proposal he had made. Now, if they adopted the proposal of electoral districts in all cases, how, he asked, would they provide for the paupers in certain cases in towns in Ireland? He found no man, however anxious he might be for the principle of electoral districts in the abstract, who did not admit, if that principle were introduced into this Bill, that there must be some special means adopted to provide for the burden of taxation in the towns in Ireland. He had heard various proposals on the subject; some persons said the taxation should be thrown on the counties at large; but all of those proposals, when they came to be analysed, seemed to be liable to greater objection than the course which Her Majesty's Government had proposed to take. Any person who heard the statements made by the representatives of the various towns, must see that an enormous burden was thrown on the towns, in comparison with the country districts. It appeared that in towns the rate would amount to 2s. or 3s. in the pound, when the adjoining country districts did not pay more probably than so many pence in the pound. He did not agree in the statement that there was no connexion between the gentlemen in the country and the paupers in the towns. In many instances it occurred that gentlemen, when improving their properties, got rid of a number of their poor tenants, and they very possibly swelled the mass of paupers in the neighbouring town. It was impossible to suppose, in the present condition of Ireland (and he hoped, if such were the case, that it would be effected gradually and humanely), but that there would 362 be a diminution of cottier tenants on estates, who would, of course, when removed, flock into the neighbouring towns. Therefore he conceived they were bound to take this principle into their consideration, if they wished to establish a fair principle of rating in that country. The question now under discussion had been previously discussed, he knew not how many times. It had been brought before the House in various forms and shapes. All he had to say about it was this—he acknowledged to the hon. Gentleman that they were not acting upon any of the extreme principles urged urged upon them, but they adopted a course which they thought was a compromise between those extreme principles, and the best calculated to do justice.
§ MR. JOHN O'CONNELL
was glad the Government was not going to give in to this very transparent landlord job. He thought, however, that the sum of 2s. 6d. in the year was rather too high, and it would be fairer if it were 1s. 6d.; but, even as it was, it was an improvement on the present plan, which was a very great grievance to towns.
§ VISCOUNT SANDON
wished to press upon the House one consideration, namely, that it was for the interests of the towns, especially in a place like Ireland, that the country should be in a state of prosperity; and how could the country be in a prosperous state except by means of improvements on the part of the landlords? It would be a short-sighted view, indeed, if they thought it would be of advantage not to give to the landlords of the country every possible inducement to improve their estates; and he could not conceive the case was well understood if they did not give to the landlord the full benefit of any improvements he made. He should, therefore, support the Amendment of his hon. Friend.
§ SIR G. GREY
said, that last year there was scarcely a union in Ireland in which the workhouses were full. The great expense hitherto had been the building the workhouses, and these were now nearly completed, therefore the increase of the rate to one shilling would not fall so heavily.
§ LORD G. BENTINCK
said: I beg to remind the right hon. Gentleman that we have just granted an advance of ten mil- 363 lions to Ireland. I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman, what becomes of his shilling rate, with an advance of 10,000,000l. sterling on 13,000,000l., and whether he expects ever to see a rate of a shilling in the pound in Ireland again? By every calculation that can be made, it is clear that you have to provide for 275,000 families permanently. Yes, permanently. It is admitted that the potato is done away with. I do not know what prospect there is of potatoes being grown in Ireland this year or the next; and if that be so, what is it you propose to do? To improve the cultivation of the soil, and thereby employ and feed the people? Why, if you were to reckon five men for the cultivation of every hundred acres, you will find that you still have to provide employment for 275,000 able-bodied labourers; and that being the case, the Government now proposes a measure, by which those 275,000 labourers, representing, with their families, a million and a half of people, would have a permanent provision made for them out of the poor law. The hon. Members for the cities of Dublin and Kilkenny have complained grievously of the inroads of rural paupers on the cities they represent. They state that, in consequence of the pauperism of Ireland, Cork and Kilkenny are devoured by the paupers of the country. I should like them to compare the state of the cities with that of the rural districts. First, we will take the city of Cork, which is rated on 195,000l. value with a population of 92,000. Let them stop across the boundary into the next union, that of Skibboreen, and they will find that union is rated at 98,000l. value, with 104,000 people to maintain. I want to know, then, what proof there is that the city of Cork is devoured by the paupers from the union of Skibbereen? The same applies to the city of Kilkenny. That city has, I think, a population of 23,000 inhabitants, and its valuation is about 48,000l. Is, then, Kilkenny an example of a city eaten up by the agricultural population? If our consideration is required by the one or the other, it is for the agricultural districts. My opinion is, that it would be the best thing that could happen to the rural districts were they and the town unions to be amalgamated. Look at the union of Ballina, embracing an area of 792 square miles, and a population of 120,000 persons, with only 95,000l. to maintain them. Do you not think that in an amalgamation of the city of Cork with 364 Ballina, the latter would be the gainer? Take Dublin, or any other city if you will. Dublin has 303,000 persons to maintain upon a valuation of 900,000l.: and would it be no advantage to the rural unions in its vicinity to be united to it? Take the towns where you will, and let their unions be amalgamated with the rural unions, and the latter will be the gainers and the former the losers. My object is to put an efficient control over the expenditure, and one way to do that is to support the proposition of my hon. Friend the Member for Northamptonshire, by which we should reduce the districts over which the rate is to spread. I am convinced that is only by a system of self-reliance that any beneficial results can be arrived at; and as one means of inculcating such a system, the proposition has my hearty concurrence. We have been told to-night by the hon. Member for Kerry that the author of a similar alteration in the Bill, when it was proposed in 1837, was the Duke of Wellington; and I believe the noble Duke's argument was, that if you entered too widely the area over which the union is spread, every man would strive to put his hand into his neighbour's pocket. This argument is as good now as it was then: and therefore I support the Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Ireland has discovered to-night in the Bill what he calls a "self-acting principle," but which last year was called the "sliding-scale." Those who supported the "sliding-scale," had not last year the hon. Gentleman's company; although he is now attempting to carry a "sliding-scale" for the people of Ireland.
§ MR. NEWDEGATE
said, one reason why he would support the Motion of his hon Friend the Member for Northamptonshire was, that there was no law of settlement in Ireland. Nothing, he conceived, could be more unwise than extending the area of taxation; for such would make it impossible for the guardians to be personally cognizant of the justice of the applicants for relief. He thought the Government would have reason every day to regret more and more their rejection of the proposition of the noble Lord the Member for Lynn, for the establishment of a, really reproductive system of labour. The hon. Member briefly stated the amount of rateable property in England and Ireland, and also the comparative expense of the support of a pauper in each country, as follows:— 365
The rateable property of England available for the sustenance of her population, was greater than the rateable property of Ireland available for the sustenance of her population, by 125 per cent. Supposing, therefore, that the pauperism of Ireland bore no greater proportion to the population, than did the pauperism to the population, of England, to maintain the Irish paupers as the English paupers were maintained would require that the rates in Ireland should be more than two and a quarter times heavier than the rates in England; but they knew that there was very much more pauperism in Ireland: the rates, therefore, to maintain the Irish paupers in the same position as the English paupers, must press very considerably more upon the resources of Ireland, as compared with the pressure of the rates in England, than was indicated by the proportion of more than two and a quarter to one—most likely, as three to one.
Population—England and Wales 16,000,000 Rateable property 63,000,000l. 3l. 18s. 9d. per head. Population—Ireland 8,000,000 Real property 13,000,000l. 1l. 12s. per head.
The EARL of LINCOLN
, as he intended to give his support to the Amendment, was anxious to explain, in two sentences, his reason for doing so. He was the more anxious to state his opinion, on account of the manner in which the hon. Member for Kilkenny characterized the Amendment of the hon. Member for Northamptonshire. The hon. Member said, that the object of the Amendment was to help the landlords; and he designated it as a landlord's job. He had not the advantage of being an Irishman; and, therefore, he was not an Irish landlord. He could assure the House, if he viewed the question as between the Irish landlords and the Irish people, he should have much hesitation in supporting the Amendment; but he could not view it in that light. He could conceive some cases in which a few landlords might get an advantage by it; but there were many cases in which the advantage of the Amendment, as regarded the difference between electoral and union ratings, would be, not for the landlords, but for the great body of the ratepayers. He could not admit that this was merely a question between the towns and the landlord. He thought that the hon. Member for Wycombe had conferred a great benefit by the returns which he had moved for, and which were laid before the House yester- 366 day, respecting the valuation for rates in Ireland. From this return the effect of the rating on electoral districts was clearly shown; and as to the allegation, that by such rating the pauper population of the rural districts would be thrown on the towns, it was shown by this return that such a statement was entirely groundless. It appeared from this return, that the value of the property in the town districts was much greater than in the rural districts. He thought that this was a sufficient answer to the argument as to the superiority of their having the rating in union districts, in contradistinction to electoral districts. It had been stated by the right hon. Secretary for Ireland that the result of the Amendment would be to encourage the clearing of estates in Ireland. This might be the case in individual instances; but the right hon. Gentleman dwelt too much on this point. The right hon. Gentleman might advert to the fact of one individual landlord having cleared his estate, and thus thrown a considerable burden on the other districts; but then, he should, on the other hand, take well-managed estates, where no such undue advantage could arise for the landlords, but in which the landlord was entitled to see that an undue burden was not thrown on him by the proposed mode of rating. He was convinced that by either plan individual cases of hardship would be inflicted; but they should look to the interests of the country at large, and not to the landlords alone. He was convinced that the system of union rating would take away a great inducement to individual exertion for the improvement of the country. He should support the Amendment, therefore, on the ground that by the electoral divisions they would be much more likely to obtain that desirable object than by that proposed in the Bill.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
hoped that he should be better enabled to confine what he had to say within two sentences than the noble Lord had been. The noble Lord, as well as the hon. Member for Northamptonshire, argued as if this was the question of union rating; but it did not apply to it. With regard to the union rating, the House had already disposed of it in the Amendment of the hon. Member for Kerry. This proposal was for a very different form of rating.
§ The Committee divided on the question, that the Clause as amended stand part of the Bill:—Ayes 118; Noes 57: Majority 61.
|List of the AYES.|
|Acheson, Visct.||Howard, hon. C. W. G.|
|Ainsworth, P.||Howard, hon. E. G. G.|
|Aldam, W.||James, Sir W. C.|
|Anson, hon. Col.||Jervis, Sir J.|
|Antrobus, E.||Jocelyn, Visct.|
|Archbold, R.||Labouchere, rt. hon. H.|
|Barclay, D.||Lawless, hon. C.|
|Baring, rt. hon. V. T.||Layard, Major|
|Barnard, E. G.||Lemon, Sir C.|
|Bellew, R. M.||Lindsay, Col.|
|Berkeley, hon. C.||Mackinnon, W. A.|
|Berkeley, hon. Capt.||M'Carthy, A.|
|Blake, M. J.||M'Donnell, J. M.|
|Bodkin, J. J.||Maule, rt. hon. Y.|
|Bouverie, hon. K. P.||Mitchell, T. A.|
|Bowles, Adm.||Monahan, J. H.|
|Bowring, Dr.||Morpeth, Visct.|
|Brotherton, J.||Morris, D.|
|Buller, C.||Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.|
|Busfeild, W.||Napier, Sir C.|
|Byng, rt. hon. G. S.||O'Brien, W. S.|
|Callaghan, D.||O'Connell, M. J.|
|Cavendish, hon. C. C.||O'Connell, J.|
|Chapman, W. J.||O'Conor Don|
|Cholmeley, Sir M.||Ogle, S. C. H.|
|Clay, Sir W.||Owen, Sir J.|
|Colebrooke, Sir T. E.||Paget, Col.|
|Collett, J.||Paget, Lord A.|
|Copeland, Ald.||Parker, J.|
|Cowper, hon. W. F.||Patten, T. W.|
|Craig, W. G.||Phillpotts, J.|
|Crawford, W. S.||Rawdon, Col.|
|Dalmeny, Lord||Ricardo, J. L.|
|Damer, hon. Col.||Rich, H.|
|Dawson, hon. T. V.||Romilly, J.|
|Denison, J. K.||Russell, Lord J.|
|Dennistoun, J.||Scrope G. P.|
|Duncan, G.||Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.|
|Dundas, Adm.||Smith, J. A.|
|Dundas, Sir D.||Smith, rt. hon. R. V.|
|Ellice, E.||Somerville, Sir W. M.|
|Escott, B.||Stanley, hon. W. O.|
|Evans, W.||Stuart, Lord J.|
|Ferguson, Sir R. A.||Stuart, W. V.|
|Fitzgerald, R. A.||Strutt, rt. hon. E.|
|Forster, M.||Thornely, T.|
|Fox, C. R.||Towneley, J.|
|Gisborne, T.||Vane, Lord H.|
|Gore, hon. R.||Villiers, hon. C.|
|Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.||Ward, H. G.|
|Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.||Wawn, J. T.|
|Grimsditch, T.||Williams, W.|
|Guest, Sir J.||Wilshere, W.|
|Hall, Sir B.||Wood, rt. Hon. Sir C.|
|Hanmer, Sir J.||Wyse, T.|
|Hastie, A.||Yorke, H. R.|
|Hawes, B.||Young, J.|
|Hindley, C.||Tufnell, H.|
|Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J.||Hill, Lord M.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Acton, Col.||Bruen, Col.|
|Adderley, C. B.||Bunbury, W. M.|
|Bateson, T.||Carew, W. H. P.|
|Bennet, P.||Chapman, A.|
|Bentinck, Lord G.||Chichester, Lord J. L.|
|Bentinck, Lord H.||Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G.|
|Beresford, Major||Cole, hon. H. A.|
|Brooke, Sir A. B.||Coote, Sir C. H.|
|Corry, rt. hon. H.||Macnamara, Major|
|Courtenay, Lord||Manners, Lord J.|
|Disraeli, B.||Maxwell, hon. J. P.|
|Douglas, Sir C. E.||Milnes, R. M.|
|Douglas, J. D. S.||Newdegate, C. N.|
|Finch, G.||Newry, Visct.|
|Fitzwilliam, hon. G. W.||Northland, Visct.|
|Forbes, W.||O'Brien, C.|
|Gaskell, J. M.||Pakington, Sir J.|
|Gore, W. R. O.||Ross, D. R.|
|Goulburn, rt. hon. H.||Shaw, rt. hon. F.|
|Gregory, W. H.||Spooner, R.|
|Grogan, E.||Stuart, J.|
|Hamilton, G. A.||Taylor, E.|
|Herbert, rt. hon. S.||Thompson, Aid.|
|Hodgson, R.||Trollope, Sir J.|
|Hope, G. W.||Verner, Sir W.|
|Jolliffe, Sir W. H. G.||Walsh, Sir J. B.|
|Jones, Capt.||Wellesley, Lord C.|
|Lennox, Lord G. H. G.||O'Brien, A. S.|
|Lincoln, Earl of||Sandon, Visct.|
§ The House resumed, and adjourned at Twelve o'clock.