HC Deb 20 June 1861 vol 163 cc1371-4

Order for Committee read.

House in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clauses 16 and 17 agreed to.

Clause 18 (Case of Child chargeable to Parish),


said, he objected to it on the ground that it deprived the guardians of their proper control over the children entrusted to them, and threw upon parishes additional expense. It would also give to a single magistrate power to determine that which whole benches of magistrates had be en unable to determine—the very power which a few years ago caused the alteration of the poor law.


said, the clause as framed was wholly unintelligible, and he should like to hear the interpretation of the Secretary of State of it. If, as appeared to be the case from the clause, the child was to be made chargeable on the parish from which he was sent to the school, all he could say was that a great injustice was done to the parish.


said, he was prepared to admit that a difficult question as to chargeability might arise under the clause; but then the object was plain that so long as the child continued a burden on the parish the payment in the first place being taken from the Treasury would ultimately be taken from the parish.


asked, whether the Secretary of State meant, if a child entered a parish and was transferred to the industrial school, he was to be chargeable to the parish in which he was found?


said, that was the way, certainly, in which he understood it. If the Committee thought the power unreasonable as against the parish he should not insist upon it. It was a question between the public and the parish, and if the Committee thought the payment ought to be ultimately made by the public, he should not object.


said, he believed the interference with the control of the boards of guardians would destroy their zeal. They would be compelled to pay 5s. a week for the support of a child in the school who could he maintained out of it for 2s. 4½d


said, that if there was to be a summary remedy given by a single magistrate it was only right to make the law clear.


said, he was of opinion that the Amendment which had been introduced would enable the clause to work efficiently and well. He would, however, revise it, and if it were not then approved of he would consent to its being expunged.


hoped the clause would be abandoned. It was, in his opinion, an abrogation of the entire poor law of the kingdom.


suggested that the clause should be negatived, and that the right hon. Gentleman should propose a new one upon the Report.


said, he would do so.


said, there appeared to be an understanding that though the clause was to be negatived its object was to be carried out in another manner.


said, that there was no understanding further than his undertaking to bring up another clause.


said, it was useless to legislate until the Report of the Committeee which was inquiring on this question had been presented.


said, the guardians had not performed their duty towards the children of the poor, and the House in considering the question ought not to be met by the obstinate guardian interest.


said, he must protest against the assertion that the guardians, for the sake of protecting the ratepayers' pockets, neglected the children who became chargeable. It ought to be remembered that they had nothing to do with children who did not come to them for support—with the Arab children of the streets. He thought such sweeping denunciations uncalled for. The Committee had seen plenty of assertions on this subject, but very little fact, and he had called for a return of the children who had passed through the workhouse schools, so as to see what had become of them, and to get at the rights of the question.


referred to Mr. Cumins's statements upon the Plymouth Workhouse Schools, and said the Report of the Royal Commissioners stated distinctly that the guardians did not fulfil their duty, and that a large majority of children brought up in workhouses turned out badly. He had no wish to make a sweeping charge against guardians who had a difficult duty to perform; but this was the statement of the Report, and he supposed it was carefully considered.


did not think Plymouth ought to taken a3 a specimen of the towns of England.


said, that a return taken in a district in the midland counties, comprising many large towns, with a population of 1,500,000, showed that there were only thirty women in the workhouses on a particular day, who, having been educated in the workhouse schools, had returned to the workhouse in a degraded state.

Clause 18 struck out.

Clauses 19 to 26 agreed to.

Clauses 26 to 30 inclusive struck out.

Clause 31 agreed to.

Clause 32 struck out.

Clause 33 agreed to.

Clause 34 (Application of Act to existing Certified Schools),


said, he wished to draw the attention of the Committee to the fact, that in the neighbourhood of the Metropolis several of the existing schools had been made use of for the purpose of maintaining monasteries and nunneries. The monies granted for these institutions had been converted to the support of establishments which were absolutely illegal.

Clause postponed.


said, that in the absence of his hon. Friend (Sir Stafford Northcote) he would move as an additional clause, that On the application of the parent, or of the managers, or of the guardians who may be liable to make any repayment as aforesaid on account of any child, any justices of the county in which the school is situate, if satisfied that a suitable employment in life has been provided for the child, or that there is otherwise sufficient cause, may discharge the child from the school before the full expiration of the period for which he has been sent there.


thought the clause unnecessary. Under the present system, application was made to the Inspector of Schools for a Secretary of Slate's order for discharging a child, and the reply usually came by return of post.


said, the Secretary of State would feel it his duty to discharge the child under the circumstances stated without the intervention of a justice of the peace.


supported the clause.

Clause agreed to.

House resumed.

Bill reported; as amended, to be considered on Monday, 1st July.