HC Deb 01 February 1854 vol 130 cc204-5

Report of Address brought up, and read.


said, he could not help congratulating the country that the subject of poor-law settlement had at length been taken up by the Government. Last Session he attempted to introduce a Bill, but was prevented from doing so; and Her Majesty's Government having determined to deal with the question, he had no other alternative than to leave it in their hands. At the same time, he must express his conviction that no Bill which did not provide for a considerable enlargement of the area of rating, and enabled the poor to remove at pleasure from one end of the kingdom to the other, would be satisfactory to the community. In some places there was a great scarcity, in others an excess of labour, and this was owing in a great degree to the present law of settlement. He trusted that in this respect the alteration would be an extension from the present limited space to the entire kingdom, He hoped, too, that the question of uniform rating would not be forgotten. As regarded the Reform Bill which was about to be introduced, he could not help saying that the ballot ought to be conceded. It was absolutely necessary for the purpose of getting rid of the undue influence which was exercised over the poorer classes of society—an influence which practically deprived them of their freedom, With regard to the Ecclesiastical Courts, which had come down to them from the dark ages, the whole system had been loudly and justly complained of by the country. The canon law was an anomaly which ought no longer to exist, and he hoped soon to see it abolished.

Address agreed to.

To be presented by Privy Councillors.

Adjourned at half after Two o'clock.