HC Deb 29 February 1848 vol 97 cc23-63

rose to move— That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the working and efficiency of the Poor Law in Ireland. The present state of Ireland clearly demonstrated the necessity of such an inquiry. He was not one of those who maintained that Ireland should be exempted from any taxation to which other portions of the empire were subjected; but he certainly did think that before she was made to bear precisely the same burdens, she ought to be placed on precisely the same footing. At the present moment, she was not on the same footing as the other portions of the empire, and she ought not to he subjected to the same rule of legislation. This was true of taxation, and it was also true of the poor-law system. A poor-law system exceedingly just and equitable in England, might not be at all applicable to Ireland. There were certain districts in Ireland where men and women were every day dying of starvation, and where property was merging imperceptibly but surely into pauperism. That the property of a country should be taxed to support its poverty was an abstract proposition from which he was not disposed to dissent; but the case of Ireland was an especial and peculiar one. Situated as that country was, it was impossible that its property should, for some time at all events, sustain the enormous mass of destitution which was thrown upon it, and some change in the law was imperatively demanded. The fact was, the country could not go on with the poor-law as at present administered, and some change was necessary for the salvation of the population. The pressure of distress was not just now felt with such dreadful severity as had been occasionally experienced. The reason was, large numbers of the labouring population were employed just at this time of the year in those agricultural operations which were customary in the spring time; but he predicted that during the period which would elapse between the months of May and August, the distress would be felt quite as painfully as it had been at any period last year; and that there was no measure of relief that had been adopted last year that they would not have to adopt this year as well. The fact of a landlord drawing largely on his own resources for the employment and relief of the poor of the surrounding district, did not relieve him from the pressure of pauperism. He knew an instance where a gentleman expended 10,000l. on the improvement of his estates; and nevertheless he had to pay 7s. 6d. in the pound poor-rate for three months. One great desideratum was, that the areas of taxation should be contracted. If that improvement were introduced, there were unquestionably some districts in Ireland which would be enabled to support their own poor; but he was acquainted with many districts of the country where the whole valuation of the surrounding territory would not be sufficient for that purpose. The law ought to be altered, and a fund ought to be created for the relief of such districts as were inadequate to the support of their own poor. The working of the law as at present administered was a very proper matter for investigation; and if a Committee such as he applied for were granted, he would submit propositions which he trusted would tend to mitigate the evils of the present system. Practical suggestions of a valuable character would also emanate from other quarters, and the services on the Committee of English gentlemen accustomed to the working of the poor-law system in this country would no doubt be found highly beneficial. There were two great evils in the present system: one, the vast extent of the area of taxation; and the other, the inequality of the different ratings in the various unions. These evils should be immediately remedied; and the mode of administering the poor-law ought to be accurately inquired into, with a view to its emendation. Ireland was suffering under a mass of evils, which had been very much aggravated by the recent alterations in the commercial policy of the country; and it I was a mistake to suppose that either in the matter of poor-laws, or in any other matter, the same rule of legislation could be applied to countries so differently circumstanced as England and Ireland. The hon. and gallant Member concluded by moving for a Select Committee.


The Irish poor-law had been shown to be quite inadequate for the relief of destitution in that country, though it might in some cases have somewhat mitigated the pressure of the distress. In certain parts of the country the people were dying by hundreds; and he found by statements given in a local paper that in Connemara distress prevailed to a dreadful extent, and that the poor-law had there proved a complete failure. This state of things extended all over the western parts of the county of Galway. The proprietors I of Ireland were anxious to carry out the poor-law in all its integrity; but experience had shown that it was not adequate for the purpose for which it had been framed. He complained that boards of guardians had been insulted by the Poor Law Commissioners, who, after dismissing them, appointed paid officers to discharge their duties. He thought a Committee was loudly called for on this subject; and, if such Committee were given, they would be able to prove that the poor-law was wholly incapable of relieving the vast amount of distress that existed in Ireland.


believed that there was no more effectual mode of dealing with the poverty of Ireland than carrying out bonâ fide the same institutions which existed for that purpose in this country; and he considered that an attack made on the poor-law administration in Ireland was in fact an attack on the poor-law administered here. He must observe—what could not fail to have been observed by all the English Members—that there was exceeding difficulty in coming to an exact knowledge of the facts existing on the other side of the Channel. He had found, for instance, in the Devon Report no fewer than 340 distinct contradictions of matters of fact sworn to before the Devon Commission, The Motion before the House was for a Committee to inquire whether the poor-law was adapted to Ireland. [An Hon. MEMBER: Only into its efficiency.] Well, for an inquiry into the efficiency of the poor-law. On that point he would observe, that at present the cost per head of paupers in England was 3l. 14s. a year; while the cost of supporting Irish paupers was 1l. 13s. a head. Therefore the heavy burden of which the Irish Members complained, was not half what it was in England. It appeared, however, that several boards of guardians had been dismissed; and the hon. Gentleman who seconded the Motion said they had been insulted by such dismissal, and by the appointment of paid officers. He believed there was not a case in which they had been dismissed where it would not be found that the guardians neglected the administration of the law. He found, on looking into the first number of the blue books published by the Poor Law Commissioners, some very singular information bearing upon the manner in which the interests of the poor were attended to by particular boards of guardians. For example, he found that the board of guardians in Skibbereen met for the purpose of considering the propriety of opening soup-shops, and also the carrying out of the Drainage Act by the landed proprietors. But did they consider any such things as these? No. They resolved to bring about relief by emigration. Upon this principle of transacting business they might expect, if there was an Irish Parliament, to see them enter upon an Order of the Day to consider the drainage of towns, then begin a debate on the arming of the country, and come to a conclusion about an income-tax. He found in the same blue book a statement, that in the Castlebar union they refused to strike a rate for the support of the poor, though at the time they refused to levy that rate there was an immense amount of destitution under their eyes. It appeared from the report of the Commissioners, that in the hospital in this union, day after day, the sick had not got the diet prescribed for them, and that generally the diseased inmates had not been properly attended to. This was under the very eyes of the guardians; and yet a rate was not levied. In reference to the Ballyshannon union, a letter was given in which the destitute condition of the poor was minutely described. The facts were laid before a meeting of the guardians, and indeed must have been well known to them; but the board adjourned without coming to any resolution whatever. He found it stated also, with reference to the Castlebar union, that there were only 100 inmates in the workhouse, though it had accommodation for 600, and this when the severest distress existed among the population. No wonder that the Commissioners came to the conclusion that there could be no doubt the board of guardians had failed in discharging their duty. The hon. Gentleman read various details of improper management in the infirmary wards of the county of Mayo union, showing that boys, women, and girls were mixed in a crowded manner, and without any attempt at classification, in the same dormitories—that the cases were improperly looked after—that forty-five women, boys, and girls had been in the house for five or six weeks—and that none of the board of guardians had ever visited the house. It was a perfect farce to say that the Government could do anything but dismiss these boards of guardians. And yet it was styled an insult. [An Hon. MEMBER: Who said so?] He certainly understood the hon. Gentleman who seconded the Motion to say that the boards of guardians were insulted by the Irish Poor Law Commissioners when they were dismissed; but he contended that the Commissioners would not have done their duty if they had not dismissed the guardians, and appointed paid inspectors in their place. Of course, the consequence of such a course was that extraordinary charges were thereby laid upon the district. He believed that in carrying out a system of laws so unlike any that had ever existed in that country, extreme difficulty must be experienced; but he did not think that the guardians were entitled to consider themselves insulted because they had been dismissed for neglect of duty. As regarded giving money for work, or food for work, there could be no objection, as the work went to the credit of the union; but certainly no money should be given where it might be collected by the priests and sent up to Conciliation-hall. He thought it would be a great misfortune if this Committee was granted, for it would lead to the notion that there was some doubt in that House as to the propriety of the poor-law. He had no doubt on the subject; but a very slight glance at the reports of the Commission would show the great difficulties which the Government had in carrying the law into operation.


Although I am very far from affirming that the existing poor-law in Ireland may not have some defects, and still further from affirming that there may not be faults in its local administration; yet I agree with the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down in thinking that the appointment of the Committee moved for by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Portarlington would at the present time only have a mischievous effect, and tend to aggravate the difficulties which now exist in bringing the poor-law into beneficial operation in that I country. I think it would retard the exertions which are now being made with great success with a view to that object. It would bring away from Ireland to give evidence before that Committee those men whose daily and hourly exertions are devoted to that important subject; and I therefore hope the House will agree with us in opinion, that it is desirable that this Motion should not be acceded to. Having given the utmost attention to the speech of my hon. and gallant Friend the Mover of the resolution, and likewise to the speech of the hon. Gentleman the Seconder of the resolution, I cannot see any precise object which they propose to be effected by it. My hon. and gallant Friend who proposed the resolution has said that the poor-law has been tried in Ireland and has failed; and the hon. Gentleman the Member for Galway asserts, in precise terms, that no system of poor-laws in Ireland can be adequate for the relief of the people—that the poor-law is a total failure—and that the law as administered in the west of Ireland has not even afforded a mitigation of the mass of pauperism and distress. [Mr. O'FLAHERTY: I said quite the contrary.] I certainly understood the hon. Gentleman to make the statement I have mentioned. It is impossible to divest one's self of the impression which must he conveyed to hon. Gentlemen by those speeches, that the object of this Motion is to show that the pauperism of Ireland cannot be supported by poor-rates collected in Ireland, but that there must be a grant of money for the purpose. What object has my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Portarlington stated? The only object I can collect from his speech is, that the areas of taxation should be lessened, because those persons who employ labourers are called upon to pay rates for the support of the pauperism around them; and the object which he looks on as likely to result from this Committee would be that those parties would be exempted from paying a portion of the burden to which they are now subject for rates, if they contribute to the employment of the people on their own properties and in their own immediate neighbourhood, by taking loans under the Land Improvement Act. But if you materially lessen the areas of taxation, the result will be to withdraw from the rates now applicable to the relief of the destitute, the portion paid by certain proprietors within the present areas. Now, there may be places where a great deal is spent in labour, while there are other places where there is nothing spent in labour; and if those parties who spend money on labour were altogether exempt from the payment of the rates, the necessary result would be, that pauperism would exist in the other districts without the fund now applicable to its relief; and our object, my hon. Friend says, should be to provide funds for those districts that are unable to support their poor. [An Hon. MEMBER: They don't want that.] Then what do they want? [An Hon. MEMBER: An inquiry.] Then what is the object of the inquiry? It is said that the poor-law has been a failure this year. Now, I admit that the poor-law, administered as it has been in some places, has failed, not so much from want of funds applicable to the relief of distress, but from the want of the due and efficient administration of those funds. I believe that many of the deaths which have occurred are to he attributed to the neglect of hoards of guardians fairly and honestly to administer the law. And there is not a case in which a board of guardians has been dismissed, in which such a proceeding was not absolutely necessary for the sake of the poor, who looked to them for relief, and in order to render the law available for the objects for which it was intended. I will take one instance. The Cavan board of guardians became bankrupt two months ago, and it was said they were unable to collect the rates. It was alleged that it was a failure of the poor-law; that no rates were to be extracted from the parties liable to pay them; and that the Government must step in and advance the funds. What did the Poor Law Commissioners do? Acting according to the spirit and the letter of the Act of Parliament, and in accordance with the pledge given by the Government, that where a board of guardians neglected its duty, the Poor Law Commissioners would supersede them, and appoint a paid board of guardians in their place, they dismissed that board of guardians, and appointed paid guardians; and within six weeks the state of the union under those paid guardians was entirely changed. I am happy to tell the hon. Gentleman the Member for West Surrey that he is mistaken in supposing that a great extra charge has been incurred by the employment of those paid guardians. The salary is not large; and I believe there is no instance where they have been appointed, in which the appointment has not saved money, and yet provided far more adequate relief to the poor. In Cavan, when the paid guardians came into office, they did not find one shilling of funds collected for the relief of the poor. They applied to the Government, and obtained, through the agency of the British Relief Association, a loan of 300l. With that money they provided for the immediate wants of the poor. They appointed a collector, and took vigorous measures for the enforcement of the rates. The result was that in six weeks they collected 12,000l. They repaid the loan; at the end of six weeks they had 5,000l. in hand, and relieved (in addition to the persons in the workhouse) five or six thousand persons—by outdoor relief. That is an illustration of the opinion I have expressed that it is owing chiefly to some mismanagement, and not to the want of funds, that deaths from destitution have occurred in various parts of Ireland. I am not prepared to state that the most honest exertions can raise sufficient funds to meet the extraordinary amount of distress in several unions in Ireland; but they have not been left to struggle alone and unaided, for out of the funds at the disposal of the British Association—and which are administered now in conjunction with the poor-law—94,000 children are now receiving daily rations of food; and their parents are relieved from any expense on their account. There has been also a gradual increase of the funds supplied by the British Association, through the same agency, in aid of the rates in unions where pauperism was most severely felt; there is now a daily expenditure of 800l or 900l. out of the funds of this association in aid of the rates. But in some places where deaths have been reported, there has been no application for relief. An inquiry into the circumstances has been made, and it has been found that the parties themselves had neglected to apply for the relief which they might obtain. I am happy to state that the funds generally have greatly increased out of which such relief is given. I made a statement not long ago, with reference to the collection of the poor-rate within the last few months, as compared to the corresponding months of the previous year. It appears that the collection of the rates at those respective periods was as follows:—The collection amounted to 151,684l. in November last, which is to be compared with 36,639l. collected in the previous month of November. The collection in December last was 168,680l., to be compared with 46,440l., collected in the month of December of the previous year. Since that time we have received the return for January last, and the collection for that month amounts to 190,000l. But then a charge is made of severity in the enforcement of rates. It is rather hard upon those who are entrusted with the administration of these laws, to say on the one hand they are chargeable with the deaths of people because they do not duly administer the law, and on the other hand to say they have entered upon a crusade against the poor farmers to compel them to pay rates. The law has vested in them the power to collect and administer the rates, and that is a duty they have been performing under great difficulties; and I must say their success has exceeded the expectation of the Government, and the amount of money drawn from the collection of the rates applicable to the relief of destitution has been larger than was anticipated. When I speak of the maladministration of the law, far be it from me to say that it is universal. The observation applies only to a comparatively small part of the country, for in many unions boards of guardians have been most zealous in the administration of the law; and they may be compared with the guardians of any unions in England. With regard to the diminution of the area of taxation, I know it is a very popular idea with many Irish Members. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Longford gave notice of a Bill for substituting townlands for electoral divisions. He was not in the House when his name was called; and I do not know that it is his intention—I apprehend it is not—to bring forward that Motion. Let us not, however, enter into a Committee with the avowed object of lessening the area of taxation, and by doing that give rise to uunfounded expectations. [An Hon. MEMBER: There is nothing about it.] An hon. Gentleman says there is nothing about it, but he will find from the speech of the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Portarlington that the only definite object that the hon. Member proposes is to reduce the areas of taxation, and provide from some unknown source for the funds that would be necessary to relieve distressed districts. Now, with regard to townlands, I have to observe that there are 130 unions in Ireland, and 2,049 electoral divisions. The average number of electoral divisions in each union is 15. If townlands were substituted for electoral divisions, there would be, instead of an average of fifteen electoral divisions in a union, an average of 467 townlands forming an area of taxation, each returning a guardian to be a member of the general board of guardians, and each being obliged to keep separate accounts. Such a plan as that is impracticable, and could not be carried into effect. The boards of guardians are at present too large for useful purposes, and that would make them unmanageable; but I am glad to find from many Members from Ireland, that that idea is abandoned. I stated last year, and I repeat it now, that I am far from affirming that the unions in Ireland are not in many cases too large. The subject has been under the consideration of the Government; they have been in communication with the Lord Lieutenant with regard to it; and with his entire concurrence the Government propose to institute an inquiry respecting the boundaries of existing unions and electoral divisions, with a view to reduce in size those which are too large for the practical working of the poor-law. It is desirable to re move the anomalies and inconveniences which at present exist; but it is not proposed to substitute townlands for electoral divisions, or to alter the whole principle of the existing arrangement. There are serious inconveniences at present that may be removed, after an inquiry and report from the persons about to be appointed to take a general view of the electoral divisions and unions. I cannot but feel that the appointment of the Committee at such an early period after the law has come into operation would give rise to the opinion that the law was about to be repealed or modified; but I am far from saying that it may not require alteration in some of its details, after further experience, and that an inquiry at a future time may not be necessary. At present I do not see any advantage that can be gained by the appointment of this Committee; while it may retard the successful operation of the law. The real remedy for many of the evils complained of is to be found not in speeches in Parliament, or by appeals to Parliament, or by the appointment of Committees without any defined object; but in the co-operation of all classes in carrying out the law, the successful application of which can best be effected by the cordial and zealous aid of all persons interested in the welfare of the country.


thought the right hon. Gentleman had given an erroneous—he did not say unfair—representation of the intentions with which the hon. and gallant Gentleman had brought forward the Motion. The hon. and gallant Gentleman took special care to guard himself against being supposed to apply to England for money. His desire was to make the property of Ireland support the poverty of Ireland. In that desire he entirely sympathised. In 26 out of 130 unions the management was not in the hands of guardians representing the people; and in local as well as general taxation its connexion with representation was recognised. But how long was this principle to be set at defiance? The hon. Member for West Surrey had not been felicitous in his illustrations. The right hon. Gentleman (Sir G. Grey) had resorted to the old official artifice in taking refuge, when any one asked for a diminution of the area of taxation, at once in townlands. There were 2,049 electoral divisions, each containing on the average 10,150 acres, which was too large an area for the practical working of the poor-law, which indeed had hardly begun to be fairly brought into operation. If they meant to try the poor-law in Ireland in reference to its working in that country, with a view to ascertain its merits as a legislative measure for good or evil, they had no right to take its practical operation earlier than the month of January last. This afforded no argument, however, against the Committee of his hon. and gallant Friend; because he did not wish to limit the proposed inquiry to the period since the month of January, but to extend it to the time when outdoor relief came into operation. He begged to warn the right hon. Gentleman that the time had not arrived for the construction of new workhouses in Ireland; and at the same time he gave the House fair warning that, if they encouraged the Government in incurring this enormous expense, they must not deceive themselves in supposing that the money so spent would ever be repaid into the Imperial Treasury. He assured the House that his desire was to make Ireland not only a self-supporting nation, but a contributor to the riches of the empire; and he had hitherto endeavoured to impress upon them the necessity of carrying out this principle in reference to their legislation for Ireland. It was competent for the House to say to the landlords of Ireland, "You must depend upon yourselves. You must not look for aid to the union in which you live, nor to the province in which you are situated, nor to the country to which you belong; but you must carry out your great improvements for yourselves." If they taught this great principle in all their legislation for Ireland, they might then consistently say, "Even as we told you to depend upon yourselves as individuals, so we tell you to depend upon yourselves as a nation." But if, on the other hand, they should say to the landlord who allowed pauperism to accumulate on his estate, and to depend upon his more spirited neighbour, "Never mind what you do; there is an improving neighbour next you, and he will support your poor,"—if they said this now, could they, when the same principle cam to be applied on a national scale, draw the line where Ireland should cease to seek relief from England? Were they prepared to say that Ulster should pay for the poverty of Connaught? If the Government were not prepared, by lessening the areas of taxation, to carry out the great principle upon which, in his opinion, the welfare of Ireland —the self-respect and self-dependence of the people—rested, he wished to know, not as a mere party question—not as discussed in a mere party debate—upon what other principle they were prepared to act for the welfare of Ireland? The property with which he was connected in Ireland numbered about 6,000 or 7,000 souls; and when he was willing to take charge of them himself, and, in place of shutting them up in workhouses, to employ them in improving the land and developing the resources of Ireland—when he was willing to pay some fine for living in a country which had been too long neglected, by doing his duty as he best could—what encouragement had he to do so under the existing system? He begged hon. Members not to look upon this as a mere local or Irish question—not to think that, because on a primâ facie view it seemed to belong to Ireland alone, they should stop there, and concern themselves no farther about it. Hon. Members who came from the manufacturing districts could tell the House, from their own knowledge, how large a portion of their poor-rate was owing to Irish poverty. He remembered hearing the hon. Member for Finsbury state to the House that for every 1s. of poor-rate in his parish, 8d. was caused by Irish pauperism. He asked them then to send those paupers home to work in Ireland who were at present kept in idleness and misery in England. This was a question which could not be considered as separating the Roman Catholic from the Protestant, the Repealer from the Unionist, the Conservative from the Liberal, or the Whig from the Tory; but a question between those who desired earnestly to do their duty, and those who were determined resolutely to force their duty upon others—simply a question between the improving and non-improving landlords. It could not be a national question. With the permission of the House, he would read the following extract from the Times, dated Dublin, February 10, and headed "Carrying out of the Coercion Act:"— The following appears in the Tipperary Free Press. It is only by a rigid enforcement of the provisions of the Prevention of Crime Act, that any hope can be held out of the restoration of the country to a state at least bordering on civilisation:—'The high constable of the barony of Middlethird, in this county, has received a warrant from the Lord Lieutenant commanding him forthwith to levy and collect the sum of 10l. in the townland of Ballydine, in the parish of Ardmaile, such sum being the estimated expense for three calendar months of one additional constable appointed by his Excellency for said townland, under the late Act, the 11th Victoria, chap. 2, sec. 7. The townland of Ballydine contains, according to the county book, but 33½ acres—therefore this first instalment of the expense to the landholders will be above 6s. per acre—which, if collected every three months, will leave them in no enviable position with respect to their little holdings. This tax has been imposed, we are informed, in consequence of the murder of a man named Brown, on the 28th of December last, for which offence there are two persons in custody. The poor occupiers, 16 in number, are in the greatest consternation about this first fruit of the Coercion Act.' In the meantime a step has been taken in the right direction; and should the excellent suggestion of Chief Justice Blackburne be more generally adopted, the occupation of the assassin would speedily be put an end to. This was in consequence of an excellent provision in our Statute-book, which, by the application of a principle as old as the time of William the Conqueror made a small neighbourhood responsible for the crimes committed in it. Now, he did not wish to extend this principle in all its rigour to the administration of charity as well as to the administration of justice; but he thought it might be so far applied with regard to the poor-law as to force, by individual stimulus, individual exertions in a place where individual exertions could only be permanently, safely, and satisfactorily made available by such means. But he would quote an authority higher than an extract from the Times and which hon. Gentlemen on the other side might think that, as a Protectionist, he was not much in the habit of using, He found Adam Smith, speaking of the taxes upon the rent of land, saying— As the tax upon each district does not rise with the rise of the rent, the Sovereign does not share in the profits of the landlord's improvements. Those improvements sometimes contribute, indeed, to the discharge of the other landlords of the district. But the aggravation of the tax, which this may sometimes occasion upon a particular estate, is always so very small, that it never can discourage those improvements, nor keep down the produce of the land below what it would otherwise rise to. Now, this was precisely the reverse of the operation of the poor-rate; because, by the present mode of rating, the tax was so proportioned as to offer no encouragement to the improvement of the land. Again, Adam Smith said— The principal attention of the Sovereign ought to be to encourage, by every means in his power, the attention both of the landlord and of the farmer; by allowing both to pursue their own interest in their own way, and according to their own judgment; by giving to both the most perfect security that they shall enjoy the full recompense of their own industry. He held in his hand a pamphlet on this subject, for which he was indebted to the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. P. Scrope). It was impossible not to do justice to the motives which induced that hon. Member to write that pamphlet; but while he acknowledged the force of much the hon. Member had stated with respect to the failure of the poor-law, he could not but regret that the hon. Member had not reverted to his original view of the question in favour of smaller areas of taxation, for he (Mr. Stafford) thought he could show that that failure was directly traceable to their having acted upon the opposite principle from that which he was now advocating. If they did not grapple with this subject, and remove the obstacles which stood in the way of the success of the poor-law, the responsibility of its failure must rest on their own heads.


said, that he had a notice on the Paper for leave to bring in a Bill not to provide for the support of the whole poor by a townland rating, but to provide in that way merely for the support of the ablebodied poor. Numerous cases could be cited to show the necessity of such an arrangement. He had received a letter from a gentleman who was personally unknown to him; though he believed he was a person of the highest character, showing the necessity of some change in the law in this respect, and suggesting that there should be two rates struck on all occasions—one a union rate for the maintenance of the poorhouse, and the support of the aged and infirm poor, and the other a townland rate for the support of the ablebodied poor belonging to the respective townlands. [The hon. Member read a letter from a Protestant clergyman of high character, but likewise personally unknown to him, stating several cases within his knowledge of non-resident landlords who derived large sums from their estates, but who neglected the poor who were located thereon.] As there appeared to be little chance of carrying the Motion of which he had given notice, it was not his intention to press it; but he hoped the House would agree to this Motion for a Committee to inquire into the present working of the poor-law in Ireland.


supported the Motion, and complained that there was a spirit of domination with the Poor Law Commissioners, which, if it were indulged in, would be fatal to the proper working of the law. Amongst the Irish Members there had been the greatest harmony on this subject; and he hoped it might continue to exist so as to control the Government, and force them to agree to a Committee of Inquiry.


said, that as the representative of a constituency in the west of Ireland, he was desirous of declaring that he was not individually opposed to the present Irish poor-law, but he wished to see it better regulated; and he hoped the Government would yield to the appeal that was now made to them. He did not ask them for eleemosynary aid, but merely for a better regulated system.


stated that he had come down to the House for the purpose of seconding the Motion of the hon. Member for Stroud, respecting the waste lands of Ireland, which he understood was to have been the question for consideration, and had not, until he heard the speech of his right hon. Friend the Secretary for the Home Department, any intention of interfering in the present debate; but he could not remain silent when he heard it asserted from authority that the present poor-law was sufficient to meet the distress now prevailing throughout Ireland—that there was no want of funds for the relief of the people—that to the maladministration of boards of guardians were the evils complained of mainly to be attributed. This statement he was prepared, from documents furnished by the Commissioners themselves, to show was utterly an erroneous one, and that the law, as a measure of relief for the poor, was a total and complete failure. The hon. Member for Surrey had stated, the Irish Members had nothing to complain of. Was it nothing that an alien Commissioner, ignorant of the interests and feelings of Ireland, should be vested with despotic power in carrying out this law? Why had not this gentleman been sent to Scotland to carry out the views of Government? He differed from the Scottish Commissioners; but, zealous as he was to enforce the Government plans, they did place him on their board. He had been employed there to report on a poor-law for that country, because no Government would venture to insult the Scottish people by placing a stranger at their head. Was it nothing that in the administration of the Irish poor-law, the principle of representation should be superseded by the fiat of an English official; and that the boards of guardians, who were, to the best of their ability, endeavouring to carry this law into effect, should be summarily and insultingly dismissed? Let the hon. Member for Surrey make himself master of facts before he spoke of Irish questions—let him read the papers from the Lowtherstone union, moved for by the hon. and gallant Member for Fermanagh, and then give his opinion on the conduct of the Commissioners. He (Mr. French) contended, that the poor-law of Ireland inflicted a larger amount of taxation upon that country than was borne by England in proportion to their respective rentals. Ireland was assessed at 2,000,000l. upon a rental of 13,000,000l., whilst England was assessed at only 5,000,000l. upon a rental of 62,000,000l. The result was, that the poor-rates could not be borne. In the province of Connaught, three times the rental would barely suffice to meet the demands on it. He held in his hand a table prepared from returns before the House, showing the value and population of each of the nineteen unions into which that province was divided; he found that in West-port the entire value of the property was rated at 38,876l. a year, with a population of 77,952; that the union, independent of any debt for the support of its paupers, owed 9,425l., money advanced for building a workhouse; that it was called on to repay 5,624l. ration money, with about three times that amount to the Board of Works. That Swinford, rated at 46,016l., had a population of 73,529; that Mohill, rated at 57,777l., had a population of 68,859; that Castlebar, rated at 50,981l., had a population of upwards of 61,000; that Ballina, rated at 95,774l., had a population of 120,787; that Carrick-on-Shannon, rated at 61,650l., had a population of 67,077; that Clifden, rated at 22,426l., had a population of 33,465; altogether the province was valued at 2,500,000l., whilst the population (more than one-half of whom had been on weekly rations) amounted to 1,442,971 persons; they owed 174,000l. for workhouses, 200,000l. ration money, and 700,000l. for public works. The annual value of the county Mayo was 300,000l.; its population, 400,000,300,000 of whom had been in receipt of outdoor relief; at 1d. per head, this would amount to 900,000l. a year to be levied off property, the entire amount of which did not exceed 300,000l. How could these burdens be borne? He denied the right of England to force such a system upon Ireland, as a means of relieving herself from the burdens imposed on her by migrations from the Irish population. This tax was an additional example of legislation for Ireland, for English advantage. At the Union, a portion of the poor of the United Kingdom was unprovided for; one of the conditions of that Union was that Ireland should bear but a certain proportion of any future taxation, notwithstanding which, this crushing impost was placed solely on her land. The law originated in deception. Ministers declared, on the faith of Mr. Nicholls' six weeks' experience, that in no case should its annual amount exceed 320,000l. It had now swelled up to 2,000,000l, and they could not calculate on its being much under six. Owing to this poor-law, the county rates had become most difficult to collect, and in the west no rents could be obtained; farmers were leaving their lands unstocked, whilst the rate itself was obliged to be collected at the point of the bayonet, It was rapidly absorbing the capital of the country, and as a measure of relief was a mockery to the poor. Under it the mortality in the workhouses was appalling. Amongst the 149,000 inmates, the mortality was greater than that of this metropolis, with its 2,000,000 of inhabitants. Weekly, from the Irish poorhouses, upwards of 1,000 persons were carried to the grave. If this system was persevered in, in the west of Ireland, they would shortly have little save "carcasses and ashes to rule over." Believing that a self-supporting plan was feasible—that the system forced upon Ireland could not be maintained, either by the wealth or bayonets of England, he should cordially support the Motion for a Committee of Inquiry.


disapproved of the remarks of the preceding speaker, because they seemed to be directed against the system of poor-laws altogether, rather than its defects. It appeared from the representations of the Irish Members that the machinery of the existing law was defective, and, therefore, the House was bound to grant a Committee of Inquiry. The speech of the Secretary for the Home Department urged no valid reason against the appointment of a Committee. The case of the Cavan union told rather in favour of than against inquiry; for what could be more desirable than to ascertain the means by which the machinery of that union, which was formerly inefficient, had been made to work well? Under these circumstances, it would become the Government to save any further waste of the time of the House by at once acceding to the Motion. It was delightful to hear the Irish Members declare that they did not wish Ireland to be a burden on England. That was very honourable on their part; and in return he would not refuse them an opportunity of inquiry to ascertain what was the best mode of carrying out the poor-law. The Irish Members had, he believed, no intention of going into the Committee with the design of overthrowing the law. Then let them have the Committee.


said, that it was his misfortune to differ from most of his countrymen in that House upon the question which had been introduced to its notice. The reasons which the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for the Home Department had given for resisting the Motion were quite satisfactory to his (Captain Jones's) mind. The only construction which he could put upon the speech of the hon. Member for Roscommon (Mr. French) was that he was opposed to a poor-law for Ireland altogether. Upon that point he could not agree with the hon. Member, for, in his opinion, the regeneration of Ireland depended entirely upon the carrying out of the poor-law. The hon. Member's figures proved too much. The size of the unions in Ireland was certainly objectionable; and he hoped that the Commission which the Government intended to appoint would suggest a remedy for that; but as regarded the Committee now asked for, he believed that by granting it the House would raise expectations which could not be realised.


having had much experience as a poor-law guardian in Ireland, was of opinion that it was necessary to institute an inquiry with respect to the mode of appointing guardians, collecting the rates, and other points. It might be found more convenient to make the landlord liable for the rates in the first instance, as he was with respect to the tithe rent-charge. The authorities in Ireland ought to be invested with the power of sending English paupers to their own country. In the Cork union there were several English paupers.


said, it was a mistake to suppose that the Irish Poor Law was similar to that of England. The machinery was totally different. All hon. Members who were connected with Ireland, with one solitary exception, declared that they were not actuated by any hostile feeling to the principle of the law; but, on the contrary, were favourable to its principle; but still they wished to have an examination into the working of its details, and for this purpose they requested the House to concede to them a Committee. He entreated the Government not to reject an appeal of the whole body of Irish Members upon a question of Irish economy and Irish interests. Could the House say that the poor-law of Ireland was so perfect in its machinery as to admit of no improvement? The Government had admitted that it was not so. They, in fact, admitted that there was a necessity for inquiry with regard at least to the areas of taxation; and they promised that they would issue a Commission of their own upon that subject. But he was not satisfied with that Commission. The House of Commons ought not to be superseded by a Commission appointed by the Crown. It would be a dangerous precedent to allow the grand inquest of the nation to have its functions usurped by a Royal Commission. He was at a loss to conceive on what ground the Government could refuse a Committee demanded by the unanimous voice of the Irish Members. He should deeply regret that the Government, by persisting in their refusal, should put an additional argument into the mouths of the advocates of repeal. He trusted they would reconsider their decision.


had been uniformly favourable to the poor-law in Ireland; at the same time he agreed with the Irish Members who had spoken, that an inquiry was necessary. Accounts had been received that starvation was going on in Ireland to an immense extent, especially in the north and south of Ireland, and that the poor-law was not sufficient to prevent it. Even the allegation of such a fact was sufficient cause to justify an inquiry why, having a poor-law in existence, such a state of things should be. It was stated that the poor-rates were not paid either by the landlords or the tenants. Now, it was right that it should be inquired into as to who was in fault that the rates were not paid. It was also alleged that new rates were put on without the old ones having been collected. Was that true? The truth ought to be known. It was well known that ejectments were going on just now, and that the tenants were not protected from starvation by the poor-law; that also was a subject proper for inquiry, in order to ascertain whether the poor-law could not be made more effectual. There were, likewise, undoubted proofs that those who were attached to the people, and were eager to give them employment, were prevented from doing so because they were eaten up with taxation. It was right that a Committee should inquire how that evil could be remedied. He was not contending for an alteration of the law to reduce the area of taxation; but he certainly did consider that a scheme should be devised applicable to the case of those landlords who did their duty, which would protect them from being overburdened by those who would not do their duty. He maintained that, until the Legislature created a local responsibility, they never could insure that constant employment of the people would be carried out. Another point of inquiry was as to the dismissal of guardians. It appeared that the guardians of upwards of twenty unions had been dismissed. He believed there was an absolute necessity for that act of the Government. But, admitting that to be the case, still he would ask, was it not a proper subject for inquiry as to what was the cause of those dismissals—whether it arose from the law of last year, or whether it was owing to the mode of electing the guardians? Another question which required investigation was, as to in what way the labour of the paupers could be rendered productive for their own subsistence.


wished to guard himself against being supposed to expect any assistance from England for the support of the poor of Ireland. He fully recognised the principle that Ireland should support her own poor; and it was for that reason that he would strongly urge the Government to concede this Committee. He had, as far as it was possible, assisted in carrying out the Irish Poor Law; but he objected to the principle of that law, because it did not encourage the employment of the people, which, at the present moment, was so essentially necessary for their very existence. They had just gone through an unparalleled year of distress; and notwithstanding the enormous outlay of money, drawn from the Exchequer, yet the employment of the people at the end of that year had not been stimulated, but was even less than at the commencement. Both on the ground of justice and of equity, then, he appealed to the Government to grant this inquiry. It was but yesterday evening that Her Majesty's Ministers had given way to a pressure from without, on a matter which affected the people to the extent of a charge of some 2 per cent on their incomes; to-night the Irish Members were making their appeal for an inquiry touching a question that concerned, not merely a charge of 2 per cent, but of 10, 20, ay, and in some instances, even 100 per cent upon their property. It was the unanimous opinion of the Irish Members that there might be some means devised by which support might be afforded to the poor in a manner less onerous upon certain classes of ratepayers. They were not, therefore, asking anything unreasonable of the House when they called for a Committee of Inquiry; and he trusted that in spite of the opposition of the Government, the House would show its sense of justice to Ireland by at least granting an inquiry into evils of which the Irish Members complained. The great mistake of the present poor-law was, that it did not stimulate industry. Under the law as it now existed, the landlord who, out of his own resources, or by the aid of the Exchequer, improved his land by giving employment to the poor, did not thereby exonerate himself from contributing to the tax imposed by the poor-law. In his own case, owing to the operation of the law, by the constitution of the unions, and the system of taxation adopted, to embrace the poor equally throughout the union in which his electoral division was included, he might be charged with contributing to the support of 8,000 paupers instead of 100. Was it not right, then, that an inquiry should be instituted to ascertain whether that principle could be just which subjected him to a taxation for the support of 8,000 instead of 100? He would call the attention of the House for one moment to the different unions and electoral divisions in Ireland with a view of showing that there were no data by which the rate of taxation could be calculated. The union of Downpatrick had twenty-four electoral divisions, with a population of 74,938; while the union of Clifden, in the county of Galway, had only four electoral divisions, with a population of 33,465. It was evident in these two cases that the amount of population did not determine the area of the electoral divisions. The union of Ballina was the largest union in Ireland, and the smallest union was only one-tenth part of its size. It must be allowed, therefore, that the basis of taxation was not founded on any just principle. In the union in which he himself lived there were 8,000 persons receiving relief, of whom 600 were in the workhouse, and the remainder received relief out of doors. Now in one of the electoral divisions of this union, there were 1,048 persons receiving relief, while only 557 persons were rated to the relief of the poor. It was clear, then, that by extending the area of taxation, the stimulus to furnishing people with employment would be taken away. He wished to make it the individual interest of every one to give employment, and to save himself from the taxation of the poor-law. The House would do well to inquire whether in Ireland, where nearly all local burdens fell upon the land, some other kind of property than real property might not be made liable for the support of the poor. He had listened to the speech of the hon. Member for West Surrey; but he thought he had given the strongest reasons in the world for the appointment of a Committee. Had there never been any accusations against boards of guardians, or against commissioners, in England? Had that ever been urged as a reason for avoiding an inquiry? But then the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department said that there was no precise Motion brought before the House. He (Major Blackall) was very young in the forms of the House, but he had always thought hitherto that a Motion for a Committee of Inquiry was a precise Motion. [Sir G. GREY had said that there was no definite object stated for which the Committee was to be appointed.] He was, at any rate, of opinion that the Motion of his hon. and gallant Friend (the Member for Portarlington), to inquire into the working and efficiency of the Irish Poor Law, was as precise a Motion as that lately made to inquire into the working of the slave trade. He would ask English Members to consider this not as an Irish question. If they would not grant a Committee to inquire whether the means were efficient by which the pauperism of Ireland was supported by the property of Ireland, they might depend upon it that the pauperism of Ireland would fall back upon this country; and if the Irish landowners lost every farthing that they possessed, the day that the sun of Ireland set would be a day of deep distress to England.


said, that being one of the English Members referred to by the hon. and gallant Gentleman who had just sat down, he would venture to prefer his application to Her Majesty's Ministers not to refuse this Committee. He made this appeal to the Government as he had always felt a strong interest in the well-being of the people of Ireland.


thought that great inconvenience would be occasioned if this Committee were granted, by withdrawing from Ireland many persons who were employed there at present; and as he had heard it stated by the Secretary of State for the Home Department that it was the intention of Her Majesty's Government to inquire into the matter, he should give his support to the course recommended by the right hon. Gentleman.


was the last man in the House to complain of the Motion which his hon. and gallant Friend had thought proper to bring forward. There was no Motion more deserving of consideration, no Motion more affecting the interests of Ireland, and therefore no Motion which more deeply affected the interests of the United Kingdom, than a Motion which proposed inquiry into the working of the Irish poor-law. He would further say that there was no Gentleman in the House who had a greater right to recommend that Motion to its consideration, because he believed that there was no man in the House who had bestowed more attention upon the wants of the poor, or who had shown greater anxiety to alleviate them. He was one of those who were charged by the wisdom of Parliament—not by the act of the Government under whom he had the honour to serve—with the onerous duty of carrying out the provisions of this law; and therefore, before he alluded to the Motion of his hon. and gallant Friend, and to the reasons for which he thought it would not be expedient to accede to the Motion, he hoped he might be permitted te make some observations in reply to those which had been levelled against the parties on whom had been left the weighty charge of administering the provisions of this measure. His hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Donegal (Colonel Conolly) had assailed both the Commissioners and the law. His hon. and gallant Friend complained, first of all, that the Commissioners had insisted on the appointment of relieving officers; and, secondly, that they had prevented the guardians of the poor from carrying out the provisions of the law in so economical a manner as they thought their duty required. Now, with regard to the appointment of relieving officers, he did not think that the Commissioners had any choice whatever. His belief was that the law was imperative on that point. No I matter what number of poor there might he in the poorhouses; the law said that the destitute poor should he relieved, and that the relieving officer should he bound to give relief to a destitute person in ease of any sudden and urgent necessity. If a poor person traversing the streets of Ballyshannon were to fall down from weakness and exhaustion, and there was no relieving officer, on whom would the responsibility be cast? Why, on the Commissioners, for not having forced and coerced the guardians to administer the law properly. As the Commissioners had been loudly blamed for their conduct in this respect, he thought he was bound to mention the reason why they had carried out the law. The amount of accommodation which the poorhouse might afford was no criterion whatever, when the House was taking into consideration the duties of the relieving officer. But then his hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Conolly) proceeded to blame the Commissioners for not having carried out the law in an economical spirit. His hon. and gallant Friend complained that the Commissioners forced the guardians to pay extravagantly for the services of its officers. The Commissioners were at issue with the Ballyshannon board on the subject of its officers; and he would now explain in a few words what were the notions of the hon. and gallant Gentleman with regard to extravagance and economy. The Commissioners declared that the salary of the clerk of the union, who was described as a most efficient officer, should be 40l. a year; and the guardians refused to pay more than 25l. Let the House imagine getting the services of an efficient and excellent officer for 25l. Then the Commissioners proposed that the salary of the matron should be 20l.—of the schoolmaster 20l.—of the schoolmistress 15l.—and of the porter 10l. The salaries, on the other hand, proposed by the guardians, on which they insisted, and on which they were at issue with the Commissioners, who were charged by his hon. and gallant Friend with having determined upon giving those officers an extravagant remuneration, were for the matron 15l.—for the schoolmaster 8l.—for the schoolmistress 8l.—and for the porter 6l. That was an instance of the determination of the Commissioners to force the guardians to carry out the provisions of this law in an extravagant manner; and he would venture to appeal to the House to express its opinion whether it were not impossible, with the scale of salaries laid down by the guardians, that efficient officers could be procured. The hon. Member for Roscommon had alluded, as he had often done in that House, in a tone of severity to Mr. Twisleton. Having had the honour of serving with that gentleman upon the Commission, he would say that he shared the responsibility of his acts, and believed, and was sure, that they had been dictated by a sincere desire to carry out this law, effectually certainly, but without giving offence to any one. The hon. Member for Donegal (Colonel Conolly) had reflected rather severely upon the conduct of the Commissioners in dismissing certain boards of guardians. He should not then take upon himself the defence of the Commissioners with reference to every instance in which they had thought themselves called upon to exercise that most disagreeable power; he should simply ask the House to read the papers with regard to each case, and then form their opinion. The conduct of the Commissioners in this respect had been censured by some as too hasty, and by the hon. Member for Stroud as too tardy: between the two they must meet with blame; and he (Sir W. Somerville) could only say that he believed in this as in every other particular, they had endeavoured to perform their duty conscientiously, and with a sincere desire to carry out the poor-law in the best manner they could. That portion of their duty was most painful, imposing upon them the necessity of dismissing gentlemen, many of whom had endeavoured to do their duty as conscientiously as the Commissioners; but it had been felt necessary, and hon. Gentlemen connected with Ireland should not he eager to pass upon them a harsh sentence with regard to their conduct in that respect. A few words now with reference to the present Motion. Far be it from him to say that the Irish poor-law, as at present constituted, was perfect; he had always thought and said, when the Act of last Session was passing through the House, that additional Committees, and inquiries, and Bills, perhaps, would be necessary before that law would be brought to a perfect and efficient state; but he was very anxious that the House should not enter upon an inquiry into the working of the law until they had before them really the materials for so doing. They were asked to institute an inquiry into a law which absolutely was not yet in force; they did not know at present in what number of unions outdoor relief might be put in force; while the proposed Committee should be sitting, the law might be changed in most important points. One of the principal motives for the Motion was the desire to reduce the area of taxation; while the Committee would be sitting, the Commission of which the House had heard, would be carrying out its operations; and supposing that the manner in which they performed their duties should not be satisfactory to many hon. Gentlemen, a Committee might be requisite to inquire into that, and into the effect of their subdivision of the unions. The Committee now proposed would have to enter upon their duty blindfold, and without sufficient knowledge of what they were going to do. With regard to the proposed Commission, let it be remarked, that it never was intended that it should not have any power as to reducing the area of taxation: nothing could be more reasonable than that such a power should be delegated, and various reasons might be adduced why it might be necessary so to reduce the area. The electoral divisions in the north of Ireland were considerably smaller than in the west and south; that of itself was a reason of inquiry. He (Sir W. Somerville) did not charge any hon. Gentleman with an intention to suggest a townland division; the hon. Mover had said indeed that that could not be beneficially carried into effect. He (Sir W. Somerville) was of opinion that a great change might be made in the boundaries of the unions and divisions with very great effect. Perhaps the natural features and boundaries had not been sufficiently considered. Perhaps some of the districts were too large, perhaps some of them in connexion with the towns were too small; and all that the right hon. Baronet (Sir G. Grey) said was, that it would be inexpedient to fetter that Commission by a provision that their duty was to be simply the consideration of the propriety of reducing the area of taxation. That question was a very grave one; and we must take care that, in our efforts to stimulate employment, we do not diminish the stimulus to labour; and that in reducing the area of taxation, we do not impose upon the poverty of the district the duty of supporting the poverty of the district, relieve the great proprietors of the duty of supporting the poor, and hold out an inducement to clearances and extermination. Was it really so, that no gentleman was to be answerable for any poor except those located upon his property? ["No, no!"] Well, but such considerations were elements entering into the question; upon the property of many gentlemen there was scarcely any pauperism; their estates were cultivated by labourers from contiguous districts; was it meant that the proprietors of those unburdened domains should not be made responsible for any pauperism non-resident upon those estates? ["No!"] The hon. Member for Longford wished to impose upon the townlands the support of their own ablebodied pauperism there resident; the effect of that would be entirely to relieve great proprietors from the support of the poor. He (Sir W. Somerville) was not saying that there should not be a reduction of the areas of taxation: far from it; he only meant to say that it was a question not so easily settled as some hon. Gentlemen seemed to think, but one worthy of the greatest consideration. It was true that the Commissioners had the power of dividing the unions; but it was quite clear that extensive changes could not be made without a considerable shifting of the burden of the rates, and it was impossible for a body constituted like the Commissioners to undertake so responsible a duty. Motives would be imputed to them: in the solitary instance in which they had lately undertaken this task in the county of Carlow, which seemed to the Commissioners to be as clear a case for subdivision as well could be brought forward, they were immediately charged with being actuated by unfair motives in shifting a burden from one proprietor to another. The duty of subdivision could not be performed by the Commissioners without, one might say, great loss of character. With regard to the appointment of a Committee, he had already said that he did not think matters were sufficiently ripe for it. It was very disagreeable to him to find himself opposed to what he clearly saw to be the opinion of a large majority of the representatives of his fellow-countrymen; but he hoped they would believe that he was abiding by what he conscientiously believed to be for the good of Ireland. The events of the next three months would introduce a new state of things, and before a very long time another Committee of Inquiry would be called for if this were granted. It was not known at present what was the expense of outdoor relief in Ireland, nor should he like to give a proximate guess, lest he should mislead, his data not being sufficiently precise. Let not the House proceed to take any step without sufficient grounds. The events of the last two years had produced much disorganisation, almost a chaos, in Ireland; a social superstructure had to be raised, and it must be raised on the comforts and well-being of the poor. It was solely by an efficient and well-considered poor-law that that object could be effected. A false step now might be fatal. We might build a foundation of sand, or we might now build upon a rock. In the conviction that the social misery of Ireland had been brought about by a long course of legislation which had not sufficiently considered the rights and the wants of the poor, he would entreat the House to be careful how they proceeded. If they believed sufficient information was before them to enable them to judge what the effect of this law had been, and still more, what it was likely to be, let them agree to the Motion; if, with himself, they thought otherwise, let them


called the attention of Irish Members to the fact that the Government had announced their determination to resist the nearly unanimous desire of the representatives from Ireland. The Irish nation spoke through its representatives; but the opinion of that nation was to be superseded by an English majority. The Irish Members were willing to go into the Committee, fairly, and not with a view to defeat the poor-law. They found a very great number of the poor alleged to be dying of actual starvation; what stronger motive could they have for inquiry? He considered that the House ought to endeavour to ascertain whether it was not possible to enact some law to enforce the right of relief, which Parliament had declared to belong to the destitute poor of Ireland. His opinion with regard to the area of taxation had been modified, to a certain extent, since the law which prevented outdoor relief from being afforded had been repealed. He considered that, as relief was now extended to the ablebodied poor, some stimulus ought to be given to the possessors of property to afford employment to those who were in need of it, and that persons who would not give such employment should be subjected to the penalty of increased taxation. It was, in his opinion, most advisable that they should, as nearly as possible, maintain an uniform proportion between pauperism and property. There was one important subject which ought to engage the attention of the Committee for which the hon. and gallant Member had moved—whether it was not possible to employ very many of the ablebodied poor who were now receiving relief in profitable and reproductive labour. He conceived that, in Kerry, Mayo, and other counties, they might be advantageously employed in the cultivation of waste lands. There was at present no efficient means of providing industrial employment for the children brought up in the workhouses of Ireland; and he thought the Committee might devise some efficient plan for instructing such children in branches of industry which might fit them to become useful members of society. It was a matter of very general complaint in Ireland that the whole burden of taxation for the relief of the poor fell exclusively on one class, the owners and occupiers of land. Now, without calling upon this country to provide funds to relieve the distress of the Irish people, he might ask the House to consider whether it was just to impose upon one section of society in Ireland a burden which should be common to all? He did not see why the mortgagees, who received a large portion of the rents of Ireland, should not contribute to the poor-rates. He also thought that a distinction ought to be made, with regard to those rates, between residents and non-residents; and that it was a question for consideration whether the fundholders and officeholders should not be required to afford some contributions for the support of the poor who were now suffering from famine and disease. The practical operation of the quarter-acre clause of the Poor Law Act, and the inequality of the valuation, would also, in his opinion, form proper subjects for the consideration of the Committee. The question as to the removal of the Irish poor from England to Ireland ought also to engage the attention of the Committee. Any one who was in the habit of visiting the seaports of Ireland must be aware that the greatest possible hardship arose from the power of removal which at present existed. In some instances, persons who had lived in this country thirty or forty years, and who had spent their best days here, had been removed in very considerable numbers to parts of Ireland with which they had no connexion whatever, and which were thus burdened with their support. He considered that one of the most important subjects of inquiry before the Committee for which the hon. and gallant Member for Portarlington had moved would be the actual administration of the Irish poor-law by those Commissioners who, it had been said, could not be spared to give evidence before a Committee of the House. He, however, could not believe that the absence of one of those functionaries from his duties, for such a purpose, for twenty-four hours, could occasion any practical inconvenience. On these grounds, he should vote for the appointment of the Committee.


expressed his regret at the speech of the right hon. Secretary for Ireland, and said he had hoped that the resolution which had been unanimously adopted by seventy-five Irish Members, of whom he was one, praying the Government to reconsider the subject of rating, would have led to the adoption of some steps for the revision of the present system. The unions and electoral divisions of Ireland were three times the size of the unions and parishes of this country, and, from the small and disproportionate number of relieving officers, it was impossible to get through the business efficiently. He considered that the first object of Her Majesty's Government ought to be to make some arrangement which would enable them to dismiss the paid guardians as soon as possible, and to revert to the system of elected boards. He believed that, with the exception of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Home Department, and the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for Ireland, every Member who had addressed the House that night had been favourable to the appointment of the Committee. He hoped that the House would show its regard for the interests of Ireland in this matter, by agreeing to the Motion for a Committee proposed by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Portarlington.


would not pretend to affirm that the poor-law in Ireland had not had a sufficient trial to enable them to judge of its operation; nor did he say that it might not be made a fitting subject of inquiry by a Committee of that House at the proper time; but at present such a proceeding could not but be injurious to the working of the measure. They had been assured by the Secretary for Ireland that the law had not yet come fairly into operation in some parts of that country; and he had no hesitation in saying that the appointment of the Committee now proposed would have the effect of paralysing the efforts of those who were energetically endeavouring to carry out its provisions. He could not help thinking that the intention of the greater number of those who supported the Motion was to raise again the question of the area of taxation, which was so largely discussed and disposed of last Session. Certainly the effect of the Motion would be to raise in the minds of the people of Ireland uncertainty upon this subject; and that was a result which they ought to be careful of producing. He was aware that this was a question on which the public mind in Ireland was very generally set. He was quite aware that there was a strong feeling on the part of the Irish proprietors that the areas of taxation ought to be greatly reduced; and though the principle of town-land division seemed to have been abandoned that night, yet the principle on which it was generally contended the area of taxation should rest was, that it should be as much as possible made commensurate with private estates. Now, he believed that the area of taxation ought not to be larger than was consistent with the possibility of combination among the inhabitants for a common object; but at the same time the basis of taxation should not be limited to the extent of private property. The principle of supporting the poor on individual properties was the old feudal practice; but it was a system in every respect inferior to the mode of taxing communities. He admitted that there might be a subdivision in cases where districts were too large in some parts of Ireland, and he had no doubt the Commission would turn its attention to that point; but that was a course very different from what was contemplated by the supporters of this Motion. He believed that, generally speaking, the area of the electoral districts in Ireland might be about 8,000 or 9,000 acres, and that was surely not too large to admit of proprietors meeting together for a common object. He thought that the adoption of a small area of taxation would be a direct premium on the clearance system, and would have a tendency to drive the people from large estates into adjoining townships. He did not deny that at the proper time a Committee such as was now proposed might be advantageously appointed; but in the meantime he trusted that the proposal would not be acceded to by the House.


had most reluctantly come to the conclusion that it was his duty to vote with Government, and against what appeared to be the unanimous opinion of the Irish Members; and, therefore, he begged to say a few words in explanation of his vote. He was bound to say that the Irish Members had some ground of complaint with the Government, inasmuch as, on a subject of such vital importance to the country as the question of the area of taxation, not only had each successive Member of the Government who had spoken differed materially as to what were the objects of the Commission, but one of the right hon. Gentlemen, who had just sat down, had, in the course of his speech, at least once contradicted himself, and had left the House in utter ignorance as to what was really to be the duty of this Commission. He should support the Government most reluctantly, but on grounds totally irrespective of the question in regard to the area of taxation. If he could believe that the objects which the hon. Gentleman who moved for the Committee had in view were likely to be attained in the way supposed, he would be one of the first to vote for it. But he believed the result, should such a Committee be appointed, would be to aggravate the difficulties in the working of the poor-law, and merely to place on the table at the close of the Session a large blue book containing a mass of evidence on which it would be impossible to found any amendment whatever. The House ought not to forget that the law had barely come into operation—that in many parts of the country it was not yet in operation—and that in other parts it was in operation under a system which the House would wish to see superseded as soon as practicable, that of an administration by guardians appointed by the Poor Law Commission, instead of the ratepayers. The appointment of this Committee would not hasten the day when that system might be done away with. His objection to the Committee rested on the consideration that of the fifteen Gentlemen to be appointed, most of them would probably be connected with Ireland, some representing paid boards of guardians; others, boards about to be suspended; others, boards not sufficiently in operation. There would be every variety of opinion arising out of the incomplete mode in which the law was at present administered; and the result, he repeated, would be the production of a mass of evidence which would confuse rather than assist the House. The real question raised seemed to be, whether it was desirable to alter the present area of taxation. The Government proposed to deal with that question by means of a Commission. A Committee could not satisfactorily investigate all the circumstances in regard to unions, still less in regard to electoral divisions. The House had been so confused with information given by Members of the Government on the duties of the Commission, that he hoped some of them would yet state what those duties were to be, that the House might know what they were to do, and what they were not to do—if they were to inquire whether a longitudinal or rotund form was the most suitable for a union. He did not concur with the right hon. Gentleman in thinking that the measure lurking in the minds of many Gentlemen who supported the Motion, was a recurrence to townland taxation. Last year that system had been advocated with reference, not to the poor-law, but to temporary relief, which it was thought would be conducted more economically and efficiently under the townland than under the electoral division system. He hoped and believed the Irish Members did not desire any such minute division. He might also suggest whether they would not more effectually gain their object by withdrawing the present Motion, and waiting till they should see what were the results of the proposed Commission.


observed, that inquiry had been made as to the objects of the Commission. Not long ago several Irish Members had requested an interview with him in order to state their desire for inquiry into the limits of unions with reference to the principle of reducing the areas of taxation. He replied that the Lord Lieutenant had suggested a Commission, but that it seemed better to postpone any interview till the Lord Lieutenant had communicated his views as to the form in which the inquiry should be made. He had afterwards stated to the hon. Member for Clare and others what course it was intended to take; but the Government did object to insert in the terms of the Commission that the Commissioners should proceed on the principle of area taxation. The Commission would be appointed to inquire and report what alterations ought to be made in the boundaries of unions and electoral divisions, regard being had as important elements to the extent, population, and valuation of the unions.


thought that if there was a case in reference to which the House ought to grant a Committee, it was that under discussion. He was not one who complained of the conduct of the Government with regard to the Irish poor-law. He thought great credit was due to them for the way in which they acted towards the poor of Ireland; but when such statements were made as had been made that night, and when the extraordinary and striking phenomenon was observable of all the Irish Members agreeing, it was treating them as a body with very great disrespect for the Government to refuse such a Motion as the present. The statements which had been made that night with respect to the operation of the Irish poor-law were most extraordinary and astounding; and it was impossible for the House to hear such statements and not institute an inquiry. One hon. Gentleman said, thousands of Irish poor were starving; and the hon. Secretary for Ireland alleged that the law was not enforced. Then why not? Was it not scandalous that such statements should be made, and no inquiry instituted? The House had heard of the extraordinary extent of the Irish unions. He understood that some of them were forty miles in length. ["More."] He understood now that some were forty-six miles long—more than sixty English miles in length. Why were such unions, in which poor persons had to go thirty miles for relief, and thirty miles back, allowed to exist? That matter demanded inquiry. The workhouse was the test of destitution; it was invented for that object, and it was not made a place of comfort, but one of discomfort and inconvenience. That was the case in England. ["No, no!"] It was confessed and known, and would not be denied by persons in authority, and by those who at first established the New Poor Law. Now, as the poor people of Ireland lived on the lowest diet, the guardians in that country, in order to make the workhouse the test of destitution, endeavoured to find out something worse than the worst food. ["No!"] He had the authority of the hon. Member for Cork for saying that the guardians, in some instances, had sought out a worse food than the ordinary food of the poor, in order to test the destitution of parties before their admission to the workhouse.


said, that he had visited, within the last twelve months, the Cork union workhouse; and he wished any poor man out of the workhouse was able to get food half as good as the poor in it. He could pledge his word of honour that the bread given to the paupers was as fine and as good as that placed on any gentleman's table.


continued: It was not the Cork union that was mentioned, but the circumstance was mentioned by the hon. Member for Cork. ["Oh!"] Hon. Members seemed to be offended at his allusion to the low diet in the union work-houses in Ireland; but suppose he was to tell them that an ablebodied man might be in an Irish workhouse for a week, or for weeks, without being allowed one ounce of animal food, would they say that that was treatment for human beings? He thought the whole subject of such importance, that, in his opinion, the Committee ought to be granted, and the inquiry, instead of being narrowed, should be made as extensive as possible.


did not at first think it would be necessary for him to trouble the House with any observations whatever; and he should now merely advert to what fell from the hon. Member for Finsbury for the purpose of showing his inaccuracy with regard to the Irish poor-law, when he sought to compare it with the English poor-law, in the character and operation of both. The hon. Member for Finsbury contended it was an intolerable abuse that the paupers in Ireland were put upon a much worse diet, and dealt out much coarser food than was given to the poor in England. He ventured to hope that every English Gentleman in the House must know the worth of that illustration. It never had been the policy of those who were entrusted with the administration of the poor-law in this country to deter the poor from entering into the workhouses by putting them on bad food, or even on worse food than they had been previously accustomed to. He had the pleasure of reading more dietary tables than perhaps any other Member of that House; and with a full knowledge of the general character of those dietaries he and those with whom he had the honour to co-operate were standing out for four meat dinners in the week. When he heard the hon. Member for Fins-bury address the House, he could not but admire the quickness of imagination and ready power of acquiring information which he manifested when hon. Members near that Gentleman supplied him with facts and arguments on the question now before the House. The hon. Member spoke as he was prompted, because he seemed scarcely to have had time to read his brief. They had heard something of the hon. Member's profession; but he believed there was a mistake about it, for that hon. Member was much more like a lawyer than like a medical man; they all heard the promptings going on, and they could scarcely fail to estimate at its just value the appalling statement which the hon. Member for Finsbury had been induced to make. He doubted not they were much amused when he began by talking of a union thirty-six miles in length, which afterwards swelled out to sixty. The hon. Member showed great quickness of apprehension; but it would be infinitely better if, when taking his share in an Irish debate, he took some trouble about ascertaining and sifting facts. He really did think it would be much better if Gentlemen would take the pains to inquire and investigate before they came forward in that House to make the dreadful statements which had that night been heard. Possibly it would not have been amiss if the hon. Member had inquired from his neighbours in that House whether the Irish peasant living out of the work-house ever was, under the most favourable circumstances, able to provide himself with better food than might be obtained in the workhouse. The taunts which they had just heard came with little grace or consistency from the hon. Member, when they remembered the manner in which that hon. Member pressed the Government to defer to public opinion. Were they prepared to take his advice, when he told them to hark back because they had seen the error of their ways? He wanted to be informed whether or not the House of Commons had seen the error of their ways? Were they prepared to hark back on the measure by which the English poor-law had been extended to Ireland? No one could doubt that the success of the present Motion would be felt as a certain amount of blame cast upon the Bill that had been passed last year. Was it to be done simply on account of the supposed unanimity subsisting amongst the Irish Members? No doubt, on some questions and classes of questions the Irish Members were wonderfully unanimous; but was the hon. Member for Finsbury prepared to act throughout the Session on the unanimity of the Irish Members, and vote with them upon every occasion when they were unanimous? If so, he would give them the full benefit of his support on a proposition for extending the income-tax to Ireland. If that question came under consideration, there would probably be unanimity amongst the Irish Members; and doubtless the hon. Member for Finsbury must, in all consistency, press upon the House the necessity of deferring to the opinions of the Irish Members. He should now take the liberty of putting the question on which they were to decide in a few sentences. The present was not really a question of inquiry into any particular fact or class of facts—it was not a proposed investigation of any particular part of the Irish poor-law—it was not instituted with a view to the remedy of any individual abuse; it was an inquiry into the working and efficiency of the poor-law in Ireland. It was a proposition putting the whole poor-law in issue, and it could not be regarded as anything else. The supporters of the present Motion said, that the defects and imperfections of the Irish poor-law were notorious. If they were so notorious and palpable, then why did not those Gentlemen propose their own remedy? He wished to put this question to the House, how would the people of England and Ireland understand the present proposition for a Committee of Inquiry? During the inquiry before a Committee, the law would be paralysed. An hon. Member had just said it was not so with the English poor-law: no instance could be more unfortunate. The Irish poor-law had only been passed last Session—it had not been more than one year in operation; and now an inquiry was to be instituted as to whether it was to be continued in operation or not. They could not expect the whole of the present debate to be read by the public. It unfortunately happened that people had not always the good taste to read all the speeches that were made in Parliament; but they would read the two lines at the end of the debate in which the terms of the Motion were stated, and from these they would understand that the whole question of the Irish poor-law was under agitation. He would ask, had the Government refused to apply remedies or to institute inquiries? Those who were appointed to carry the measure into effect, would inquire into details while they were proceeding with the discharge of the functions which the Legislature intrusted to them. An inquiry of that nature would not be misunderstood, while such an investigation as would be instituted under the present Motion would be exceedingly liable to misconstruction. However plausible it might be for hon. Members to say that they wanted nothing but inquiry, he would venture to suggest that the business of inquiry ought to be left to those who were entrusted with the carrying out of the measure. He conceived that the House should do nothing calculated to inspire the people of Ireland with any suspicion as to the permanency and stability of the poor-law in Ireland.


hoped the House would not be led astray by the talents and ability which the right hon. Gentleman had displayed in the speech just delivered to the House. The right hon. Gentleman had made an able defence, and had given a happy turn to the remarks of the hon. Member for Finsbury; but, had he been in the House during the debate—had he heard the expression of the views of the Irish Members who had joined in the requisition to Government, praying for an investigation into the whole subject—and had he been present when the Government proposal of issuing a Commission was explained to the House—he doubted if they would have been favoured with the right hon. Gentleman's remarks at all. This was primarily and essentially an Irish question. With the exception of two Members, who dissented from their brethren, the Irish Members had all called for a Committee of Inquiry; and he felt confident that the feeling was as strong and general and unanimous in Ireland in favour of the inquiry as among their representatives. But, though it was primarily and essentially an Irish question, they relied upon the support of English Members for enabling them to carry the Motion; for England was interested in it as well as Ireland. That country was getting poorer and poorer; and, if they did not apply a remedy to the existing state of things, the whole of Ireland would soon be pauperised, and then it would fall to England to consider what should be done with it. To avoid this state of things, the Irish Members asked for an investigation into the subject, and he considered it of vital importance to both countries that it should be granted.


, in reply, remarked, that he felt indebted, not only to those who had spoken in favour of his Motion, but to those who had spoken against it; for he thought that a more complete case had not been made out by the former than by the latter, who had argued, not against what he had said, but what they had expected he would have said. The hon. Member for Surrey had quite misapprehended him when he thought that he had found fault with the English Poor Law. He had not even found fault with the Irish Poor Law. What he wanted was an inquiry into its working and efficiency. Neither had he argued in favour of a townland area of taxation, which had been brought forward as a means of frightening them. It was said, too, that this was not a time to change the law; but he thought it was just the time to change it, if it should be found to require change. He had heard with great regret the argument of the noble Marquess the Member for Kildare, that the Poor Law Commissioners could not be spared from Ireland for a few days, and that that should be weighed against the welfare of that country. He trusted that this Committee would be granted. If they wished to save Ireland from destruction, and to make it profitable to the State, and peaceable, the House would not reject his appeal; and he was sure that when the division was taken only two Irish Members would be found voting against it.


assured the House that he did not rise for the purpose of detaining hon. Members by any observations on the Irish Poor Law, with which he was imperfectly acquainted; but he could not resist that opportunity of congratulating the Government upon the fortunate appointment they had made in selecting as the President of the Poor Law Commission a Gentleman who had had the extraordinary boldness to assert, that it "never was the object of the New Poor Law to offer to the poor in the workhouses of this country a worse diet than they would obtain out of them." He would say nothing of that famous document exhibited in the House some few years ago, which was drawn up as a sort feeler, with a view of ascertaining to what degree, short of starvation, it would be possible to reduce the diet of the poor of this country; but he would ask the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Liskeard whether he had forgetten to what circumstances he owed the situation which he now filled? Had that right hon. Gentleman forgotten that it was to the disclosures that Mere made before the Andover union Committee, in which it was proved that the poor of that union were reduced to such an intolerable diet, that they were compelled to gnaw raw bones; and could the right hon. Gentleman have the assurance, after that, to say, that it never was the object of the poor-law to give to the poor a worse diet in the workhouse than they would obtain out of it? He was rejoiced to hear the right hon. Gentleman announce that he had been employed since the period he had accepted his present office in endeavouring to improve the diet of the workhouses, and to give the poor four days meat dinners in a week. This did not, however, affect the merits of the original question; and he should have been wanting in his duty to constituents, and to the respect which he owed to the memory of that individual who, whilst he lived, was the most determined opponent of this law, had he not risen in his place to express his astonishment at the assertion the right hon. Gentleman had made.

The House divided:—Ayes 101: Noes 165; Majority 64.

List of the AYES.
Adair, H. E. Herbert, H. A.
Adair, R. A. S. Hood, Sir A.
Adare, Visct. Hume, J.
Aglionby, H. A. Keogh, W.
Alexander, N. Ker, R.
Anstey, T. C. Lawless, hon. C.
Archdall, Capt. M. Macnamara, Major
Bateson, T. M'Naughten, Sir E.
Blackall, S. W. Maher, N. V.
Blake, M. J. Meagher, T.
Bourke, R. S. Mahon, The O'Gorman
Boyd, J. Maxwell, hon. J. P.
Bremridge, R. Meux, Sir H.
Brooke, Sir A. B. Monsell, W.
Bunbury, E. H. Moore, G. H.
Burke, Sir T. J. Mowatt, F.
Burroughes, H. N. Muntz, G. F.
Callaghan, D. Napier, J.
Carter, J. B. Newdegate, C. N.
Chichester, Lord J. L. Newry and Morne, Visct.
Clements, hon. C. S. Nugent, Sir P.
Clive, H. B. O'Brien, Sir L.
Cole, hon. H. A. O'Brien, T.
Conolly, Col. O'Brien, W. S.
Corbally, M. E. O'Connell, M. J.
Crawford, W. S. O'Connor, F.
Dawson, hon. T. V. Osborne, R.
Deering, J. Pechell, Capt.
Devereux, J. T. Power, Dr.
Dod, J. W. Reynolds, J.
Duncuft, J. Rufford, F.
Fagan, W. Sadlier, J.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. St. George, C.
Ffolliott, J. Scholefield, W.
Fitzpatrick, rt. hn. J. W. Scully, F.
Fitzwilliam, hon. G. W. Spooner, R.
Forbes, W. Stafford, A.
Fortescue, C. Stuart, Lord D.
Fox, R. M. Sullivan, M.
French, F. Talbot, J. H.
Gore, W. R. O. Tenison, E. K.
Grace, O. D. J. Thompson, Col.
Greenall, G. Wakley, T.
Greene, J. Walsh, Sir J. B.
Grogan, E. Walter, J.
Gwyn, H. Watkins, Col. L.
Hall, Sir B. Williams, J.
Hamilton, G. A. Willoughby, Sir H.
Hamilton, J. H. Yorke, H. G. R.
Hayes, Sir E. TELLERS.
Heald, J. Dunne, Col.
Henley, J. W. O'Flaherty, A.
List of the NOES.
Abdy, T. N. Hay, Lord J.
Acland, Sir T. D. Hayter, W. G.
Alcock, T. Headlam, T. E.
Anderson, A. Heathcoat, J.
Anson, hon. Col. Heathcote, G. J.
Anson, Visct. Heneage, G. H. W.
Armstrong, Sir A. Henry, A.
Arundel and Surrey, Earl of Heywood, J.
Hindley, C.
Baines, M. T. Hope, H. T.
Baldock, E. H. Howard, hon. C. W. G.
Barnard, E. G. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Barrington, Visct. Jervis, Sir J.
Bellew, R. M. Jervis, J.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.
Birch, Sir T. B. Jones, Capt.
Blackstone, W. S. Keppel, hon. G. T.
Boldero, H. G. Kershaw, J.
Boyle, hon. Col. Kildare, Marq. of
Brand, T. King, hon. P. J. L.
Bright, J. Labouchere, rt. hon. H.
Briscoe, M. Lacelles, hon. W. S.
Brotherton, J. Lincoln, Earl of
Brown, W. Lindsay, hon. Col.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Littleton, hon. E. R.
Buller, C. Mackenzie, W. F.
Campbell, hon. W. F. M'Gregor, J.
Castlereagh, Visct. Mahon, Visct.
Cavendish, hon. C. C. Maitland, T.
Cavendish, W. G. Marshall, J. G.
Cayley, E. S. Martin, J.
Chaplin, W. J. Matheson, A.
Charteris, hon. F. Matheson, Col.
Christopher, R. A. Melgund, Visct.
Christy, S. Miles, W.
Cobbold, J. C. Mitchell, T. A.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Moffatt, G.
Coles, H. B. Morgan, O.
Courtenay, Lord Morpeth, Visct.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Morris, D.
Craig, W. G. Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.
Currie, H. Mulgrave, Earl of
Dalrymple, Capt. Neeld, J.
Paget, Lord A.
Davie, Sir H. R. F. Paget, Lord C.
Deedes, W. Paget, Lord G.
Denison, J. E. Palmer, R.
Drummond, H. Parker, J.
Duncan, G. Perfect, R.
Dundas, Adm. Peto, S. M.
Dundas, Sir D. Pigott, F.
Dundas, G. Pilkington, J.
Edwards, H. Pinney, W.
Elliot, hon. J. E. Price, Sir R.
Evans, W. Pugh, D.
Fergus, J. Pusey, P.
Fordyce, A. D. Raphael, A.
Forster, M. Renton, J. C.
Fortescue, hon. J. W. Ricardo, O.
Galway, Visct. Rice, E. R.
Glyn, G. C. Rich, H.
Godson, R. Robartes, T. J. A.
Graham, rt. hon. Sir, J. Russell, F. C. H.
Greene, T. Rutherfurd, A.
Grenfell, C. P. Salwey, Col.
Grenfell, C. W. Scrope, G. P.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Seymour, Lord
Grey, R. W. Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.
Harris, hon. Capt. Shelburne, Earl of
Hastie, A. Simeon, J.
Hastie, A.
Slaney, R. A. Vesey, hon. T.
Smith, rt. hon. R. V. Villiers, hon. C.
Smith, J. A. Vivian, J. E.
Smith, J. B. Walmsley, Sir J.
Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W. Ward, H. G.
Spearman, H. J. Wawn, J. T.
Stanley, hon. E. J. Wilcox, B. M'G.
Stanton, W. H. Wilson, M.
Strutt, rt. hon. E. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Stuart, H. Wortley, rt. hon. S.
Thicknesse, R. A. Wyvill, M.
Thornely, T.
Trelawny, J. S. TELLERS.
Tynte, Col. C. J. K. Tufnell, Mr.
Verney, Sir H. Hill, Lord M.