HC Deb 08 August 1848 vol 100 cc1214-5

On the question that the Report be received,


called the attention of the right hon. Gentleman again to the extent of vagrancy, which required greater means than were in existence in order to check it, in the city of London. In. Leeds, the amount of poor-rate had doubled within the last three years; and in London, the number of vagrant poor relieved in 1839 was 396, and in 1847 it amounted to no less than 41,743. In the instructions there seemed to be a desire to refuse relief to vagrants unless provided with a pass; but humanity and justice required some provision for them. A man, because he was a vagrant, must not be left to starve. In most workhouses, however, there was not sufficient accommodation for them.


said, if a policeman were employed, he would know better how to discriminate between real and pretended destitution. He did not consider that the instructions would justify any person in absolutely refusing relief. The city of London might avail itself of the Poor Law Act of 1844, though he did not blame them for not doing so.


, having had some experience in the execution of the Vagrancy Act, could affirm that the provisions of the existing Act were sufficiently stringent; it would be difficult to increase their stringency. But there was an un willingness on the part of magistrates in the metropolis and throughout the country to give effect to the provisions of the Act; and there was likewise a difficulty in obtaining evidence as to an act of vagrancy.

Bill reported. Amendments made.

Bill to be read a third time.