HC Deb 24 July 1862 vol 168 cc781-3

said, there were some of the Amendments to which he should offer no opposition, but there were others from which he should ask the House to disagree.

Lords' Amendments considered, and agreed to, as far as the Amendment in page 2, line 29.


said, he felt an objection to that part of the Lords' Amendments which struck out of the Bill the clause which would have repealed what was known as the Quarter-Acre Clause. The part struck out by the Lords was one of the most important parts of the Bill. In times of great distress in Ireland, persons who held small pieces of land might need parochial relief, and by the Bill as it went up to the Lords the guardians would have been empowered to give the holder of a quarter of an acre of land outdoor relief, but the Lords' Amendment would prevent the administration of relief to such persons unless they consented to become inmates of a workhouse. He would therefore move that the House disagree with the Lords' Amendment.


said, he thought it would not be judicious to quarrel with the Lords as to that Amendment. If a workhouse was full, the guardians would have power to give outdoor relief, not in money, but in food, to the holders of a quarter of an acre if in distress.


contended, that if out door relief were advisable in any case, it was especially so in that of the class of persons in question.


said, he had voted for a repeal of the Quarter-Acre Clause, but he thought the Lords had introduced an extremely desirable Amendment.


urged that outdoor relief should be no more denied in Ireland than it was in England. He would support the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Hennessy) if he called for a division.

Page 2, line 29, the next Amendment, read 2º.

Motion made, and Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

The House divided:—Ayes 61; Noes 11: Majority 50.

Amendments agreed to, as far as the Amendment in page 2, line 32.


said, the House had just come to a decision the very opposite of that at which it an hour or two before arrived in the case of England.


said, he would then move that the House should not assent to the Lords' Amendment, striking out Clauses 3, 4, 5, and 6. The clauses in question had been rejected in the Lords only by a majority of two, whereas the first of them had been adopted in the House of Commons by a majority of ninety-six as against sixty-nine. County infirmaries—the aid afforded by which the clauses sought to increase, by making it lawful for the guardians of any union, in cases requiring special treatment, to send the inmates of workhouses requiring medical aid to any hospital or infirmary which might be available—were admirable institutions. Being situated, however, in the county town, they were—as for example, the cases of Galway, Mayo, Leitrim, and Donegal—sometimes thirty or forty miles distant from remote parts of the county, so that there was not the facility in all cases for providing medical relief on the part of the poor which it was the object of the clauses to provide. That being so, he trusted the House would not agree to the Lords' Amendment.


said, he thought the Lords were justified in rejecting the clauses. His objection to the clauses was that they empowered the Poor Law Commissioners to order the Unions to build hospitals to an unlimited extent. He hoped the Lords' Amendments would be sustained.

Page 2, line 32, the next Amendment, disagreed to.

Amendments agreed to, with Amendments, as far as the Amendment in page 6, line 11.


said, that by another alteration made in the Bill the Lords had struck out the provision that a deserted child should be brought up in the religion of the person who found it. He hoped the Chief Secretary would move the House to disagree with that Amendment.


said, he was sorry he could not comply with the request of the hon. Gentleman. A great point had already been gained—namely, that under one clause in the Bill, which had not been altered, baptism would be conclusive as to the religion of the deserted child, and it would be brought up in the religion in which it was baptized. It was, he thought, unnecessary to propose the reinsertion of the words struck out in the Lords'.


said, he hoped the right hon. Baronet would not agree to the Lords' Amendments in the clause, and countenance what was not the law in Ireland—namely, that a child was presumed to be of the religion of the State. Mr. Blackburne and Mr. Brewster gave it as their opinion that a child ought to be brought up in the religion of the State, but they had not stated that such was the law.


said, that the hon. and learned Baronet was, no doubt, a sound constitutional lawyer; but he preferred the opinion of ex-Lord Chancellor Blackburne, the present Lord Justice of Appeal, and of Mr. Brewster, the leader of the Irish bar, who had each given it as their opinion that according to the law a deserted child maintained by the State should be brought up in the religion of the State. That was a far better provision than the clumsy principle proposed by the Bill as it originally stood, that the child should be reared in the religion of the policeman, or whoever else might happen to find it.

Page 6, line 11, the next Amendment, read 2º.

Motion made, and Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment,"

The House divided:—Ayes 75; Noes 12: Majority 63.

Subsequent Amendments agreed to.

Committee appointed, To draw up Reasons to be assigned to the Lords for disagreeing to the Amendment to which this House hath disagreed:"—Sir GEORGE GREY, Sir ROBERT PEEL, Mr. CARDWELL, Mr. BLAKE, Sir GEORGE BOWYER, Colonel FRENCH, Mr. HERBERT, and Mr. LEFROY:—To withdraw immediately; Three to be the quorum.