HC Deb 30 April 1858 vol 149 cc2014-5

On the Motion that the House at rising adjourn to Monday.


said, he would take that opportunity of putting a question to the President of the Poor Law Board upon a subject which required a few words of explanation. In the last century the inhabitants of the Isle of Wight, conceiving the law of settlement to operate injuriously, had come to an agreement to abolish it. The different parishes entered into an agreement having that object. They obtained an Act of Parliament which rendered their agreement binding and legal, and imposed a pro-rata assessment on each parish in the island. That Act was subsequently, in some respects, altered by another. A Bill was now before the House, as a Private Bill, for making certain alterations in this, the Poor Law of the Isle of Wight. He begged therefore, to ask the right hon. Gentleman, the President of the Poor Law Board, whether, in his opinion, the Bill was one which ought to be brought in as a private and not as a public measure?


said, that the Bill alluded to by the hon. and learned Member was on the face of it a Private Bill. It was a Bill for altering an Act which had passed as a Private Act, and which related to a portion of the country only. He did not state this as his own opinion alone; he had, since the hon. and learned Gentleman had given notice of his question, taken the advice of the highest authority in the House, and the result of that advice was embodied in the statement which he had just made. The hon. and learned Gentleman seemed by his question to appeal to his (Mr. Estcourt's) own views on the general question. He must, certainly say, in reply, that, speaking as a private Member of Parliament, as well as looking upon the question in an official point of view, he thought these exceptional and local regulations were bad. It must, however, not he forgotten, that they existed in many places, and had not been disturbed by the House of Commons.