§ On the Motion of MR. BAINES, the House resolved itself into Committee on this Bill.
§ In answer to a question from Sir H. WILLOUGHBY,
§ MR. BAINES
said, that as so many objections had been raised against the sixth clause, the object of which was to enable the Poor Law Board to unite several parishes to return one guardian, he should withdraw it at the proper time.
§ On Clause I being proposed,
§ MR. FLOYER
objected to this clause, by which temporary enactments which were passed last year were continued for one year longer. He considered this to be a very objectionable course to adopt. The defect of the present Act was, that it gave no guide or direction to the board of guardians to enable them to decide who were, and who were not, settled in the parish in which they were resident. He thought the position of boards of guardians was an extremely difficult one, because they had not the facts regarding the chargeability, &c., of the pauper before them, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would direct his attention to amend our legislation in this respect, otherwise the guardians could not administer the poor-law in the satisfactory and uniform manner which was desirable.
§ MR. BAINES
said, with respect to the clause under consideration, he wished to say that the Act of last Session, two provisions of which were of a temporary nature, made provision for casting on the common fund of the union the two classes of vagrants, and the irremovable class of paupers under the 9th and 10th Vic, cap. 66. It had been found unjust that the parish where the relieving officer lived should be charged for the relief of all that came to him; and so, also, that the mere accident of a parish having the workhouse within it could not justify the whole charge-ability being thrown upon it. Therefore, it was thought by Parliament, and justly, he thought, that the true, and reasonable, and just course with regard to this class of 362 vagrants, was to charge their relief upon the common fund. That arrangement had been tried last year by Mr. Charles Buller; and he (Mr. Baines) thought it was still to be considered in the light of an experiment. Doubtless some hardship arose in particular cases, but he thought the experiment, on the whole, had succeeded. Therefore, on the present occasion, he could not propose the adoption of a clause to make that state of things permanent, although he considered the result of the experiment had, on the whole, been so satisfactory as to justify him in recommending Parliament to continue it for some time longer.
§ MR. FLOYER
said, it had been alleged that the Act of last Session was only a continuance of what was called Mr. Bodkin's Act; but that was totally incorrect. There were three classes of paupers under the Act giving irremovability, as it was termed—first, those who had resided five years in a given place; then the class who were temporarily sick; and, lastly, the class of children, with widows in the first year of their widowhood. Now, the second class, the temporarily sick, were the largest class, and occasioned four-fifths of the expense; they were entirely omitted from Bodkin's Act, which only threw the first of the three classes on the common fund.
§ MR. BAINES
said, that it was quite correct that Bodkin's Act provided that the class of paupers who had resided five years, under certain circumstances, should be chargeable to the common fund; but Mr. Charles Boiler's Act went a step further, and included other classes.
§ Clause 1 was then agreed to; as were Clauses 2 and 3.
§ The House resumed.
§ Committee report progress.
§ The House adjourned at half after Twelve o'clock till Monday next.