§ SIR J. PAKINGTON
asked if there was any intention of altering the law respecting the settlement of the poor, parochial rating, or vagrancy?
§ MR. BAINES
said, that the question of settlement had been fully discussed by the Committee that sat upon it some time time ago. His predecesssor had, moreover, instituted an inquiry of a very comprehensive nature in different districts, for the purpose of ascertaining the way in which the law of settlement operated, and also of seeing what remedy might best be supplied for the evils connected with it. But the results were not yet known in some cases, and in others not yet prepared; and, considering their complexity, and that no measure on the subject ought to be prepared without full consideration, he thought 869 that no measure on the general law of settlement would be introduced this Session. The question, however, was receiving the deepest attention in the department he had the honour to represent. Neither was it intended to legislate with respect to parochial rates, which had a close connexion with the question of settlement, further than this—he would move for leave to reintroduce the measure which was passed last Session for one year—the Union Charges Bill, with such alterations as the experience of its working suggested. With respect to vagrancy, he was happy to say that the measure passed last year had already had the effect of greatly diminishing vagrancy throughout the country. Although there were still many complaints, he believed that the evil was materially abated. The Commissioners of the Poor Law were not of opinion that there should be any material alteration made in the law, and still less that they should interfere with the principle of subjecting professional mendicants to punishment, while they preserved the right of relief to the real mendicant. In those districts, the county of Essex for instance, where there was a good rural police vigorously executing their powers and zealously endeavouring to discriminate between cases of genuine and fictitious destitution—in those places the evil had been greatly reduced, and the number of vagrants diminished.
§ MR. WILSON PATTEN
wished to know when the Bill to which the hon. Gentleman had referred would be introduced. He was anxious to know whether it would be introduced before Easter or not.
§ MR. BAINES
said, that if the hon. Gentleman would give notice of his intention to put the question on a certain day, he would give him an answer.
§ Subject at an end.