§ MR. BANKES
said, he wished to put 505 some questions to the right hon. and learned Gentleman the President of the Poor Law Board. He should first ask him whether the accounts which had lately appeared in the public journals, and especially in the Morning Herald, relative to the Barham union workhouse, were correct? It was stated that a riot had occurred there, occasioned by a very large number of ablebodied labourers having been placed in that House in coneequence of a want of employment—that the rioters had been in possession of the premises for several hours on Sunday last—that they had committed every sort of depredation—and that the military had been called out to quell the riot. He wished to know whether those reports were well founded; and if so, what was the number of the military employed on the occasion, and when the account of the transaction had first reached the Poor Law Board or the Home Office?
§ MR. BAINES
said, that, in reply to the questions of the hon. Member for Dorset-shire, he begged to state that it was perfectly true that on Sunday evening last there had been a riotous disturbance in the Barham union workhouse, which was situated at a distance of about five miles from Ipswich. The hon. Member wished him to state whether any of the paupers in the house had been ablebodied labourers compelled to enter it from a want of employment, and in answer to that question ho had to say that he did not know for what reason they had been placed there. All he knew was, that the guardians had admitted the inmates as destitute persons, and that a number of them were able-bodied. It was also true that those persons, having commenced the riot at about seven o'clock on Sunday evening, had been in possession of the premises for several hours—he believed for five hours: that some damage had been done to the building, and that very considerable damage had been done to the furniture, windows, window frames, and floors. With regard to the question of the hon. Member whether the military had been called in to quell the riot, he (Mr. Baines) had to state that they had been, although he did not know exactly the number of the military who had been present. They had remained on the premises for a period of about five hours; but he understood that they had not at any time been actively engaged in quelling the riot. With respect to the period at which the account of the 506 transaction had reached the Poor Law Board, he had to inform the hon. Gentleman that his attention had first been drawn to the matter officially by the question which the hon. Gentleman had put to him on Tuesday evening. Previously to that time he had received no official information upon the subject. But he had thought it his duty yesterday (Wednesday) to send down a gentleman from the Poor Law Board to make inquiry into the matter on the spot, and he had to add, that the reason why he had not been sooner in possession of information on the subject was that the very able and intelligent inspector of the district, Sir. J. Walsham, had been engaged in an inquiry at Birmingham since Friday last.
§ MR. BANKES
said, that the next series of questions he had to put to the right hon. Gentleman was, whether there had been any previous outbreak in that workhouse, or in any workhouse in that part of the country; whether the poor-law guardians in any of the unions of the district had been subjected to any intimidation; and what were the numbers in the Barham workhouse on the 1st of January, and on Sunday last, February 9th, distinguishing the ablebodied from the other paupers?
§ MR. BAINES
said, that in answer to those questions, ho begged to say that there had been a similar disturbance in that workhouse about this time twelvemonths, but that not quite so much mischief had then been done; and he had further to state that several of the parties who had been ringleaders on the late occasion, had been ringleaders on the former occasion also. With regard to the hon. Gentleman's question whether there had been any outbreak in any other union in that district, he had to state that he had received no information of any such outbreak; and in reply to the question whether any of the guardians of that district had been subjected to threats and intimidation, he had to inform the hon. Gentleman that ho had heard that in two unions of the county of Suffolk—the unions of Oxton and Hadleigh—such threats and intimidation had been employed. With reference to the number of paupers in the Barham workhouse on the 1st of January and on Sunday last, he had to state that on the 1st of January the whole number of paupers there had been 326, and on Sunday last 484—the house being capable of accommodating 700; of adult able-bodied men the number on the 1st of 507 January had been 53, and on Sunday last 154—of whom 34 had come in late on the Saturday afternoon.
§ MR. BANKES
next wished to know whether any assistant poor-law commissioner had been sent down to Carlisle, to inquire into the condition of the poor in that city; and, if so, what was the report of such assistant poor-law commissioner upon that subject?
§ MR. BAINES
said, that from the report of a poor-law inspector, dated the 21st of January, it appeared that at that time the cotton trade in Carlisle had been in a state of considerable depression; that a large number of persons who had formerly been employed in that branch of manufacturing indusstry had then been without employment, and that there had in consequence been a considerable additional pressure on the poor-rates.
§ MR. WAKLEY
wished to know whether there would be any objection to lay before the House a copy of the dietary in the Barham workhouse?
§ Subject at an end.