§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ SIR ROBERT PEEL
, in moving the second reading of this Bill, stated, that its principle had received the approval of 134 out of the 163 Boards of Guardians in Ireland, and of the Select Committee on Poor Relief which sat last year. Its object was to extend to officers under the Poor Law system, who had devoted the best part of their life to the discharge of those duties, the same advantages which were already enjoyed by officers in gaols, lunatic asylums, and other establishments. Its operation would be strictly confined to such officers as the master and matron, apothecary and schoolmaster, who well deserved to be superannuated; and while imposing but a very moderate burden on the country, it would be productive of large benefits. [The right hon. Gentleman read extracts from the evidence of Messrs. Power and Senior, Irish Poor Law Commissioners, and of Mr. O'Shaughnessy, of the Cork Union, in favour of the proposal embodied in the Bill.] The intention was to levy, within a period of three years, a rate of 6d. over the whole of Ireland, which would be amply sufficient to establish a fund from which these officers would derive their allowances. The total number of officers who would be subject to the operation of the Act was 1,439, but those over sixty years of age with ten years' service were only 104 in number. In the Civil Service the amount paid was equal to 14 per cent on the aggregate salaries of those superannuated, but under the present Bill it would not reach beyond 7 per cent. He 1784 hoped the House would not refuse their assent to a measure which would work beneficially and economically, and would decidedly have the effect of attracting to the workhouses a better class of officers.
§ Motion made, and question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
said, that while he was himself favourable to the principle of superannuation generally, he thought the present proposal too novel in its character to be hastily adopted. Neither Mr. Power nor Mr. Senior, when before the Select Committee, had suggested any such measure as the present, and the country, therefore, which saw in that House a decided tendency to increase local taxation, would be taken by surprise. He hoped, therefore, that the right hon. Gentleman would postpone the Bill, so as to give the people of Ireland an opportunity of considering its provisions.
§ MR. GEORGE
said, he should oppose the Bill on the ground that it introduced the principle of union rating. He urged the right hon. Baronet to postpone the measure at that hour.
said, that he must protest against the eccentric manner in which the Bills connected with Irish legislation during the present Session had been proceeded with. At the same time, he thought the Irish Members had exhibited much patience. He begged to move the adjournment of the debate.
§ VISCOUNT PALMERSTON
hoped that the hon. and gallant Gentleman would not press his Motion. The hon. and gallant Gentleman had observed that the Irish Members had shown much patience during the Session. He hoped they would not make that occasion an exception.
§ MR. WHITESIDE
said, it might suit the youthful energy of the noble Lord to go on with Irish Bills at two o'clock in the morning, but he had not the power to do it. It was quite a new principle to superannuate Government officers after only ten years' service and the subject ought to be discussed.
§ MR. H. A. HERBERT
said, he thought more time was required for the consideration of the Bill, and he should therefore support the Motion for an adjournment.
§ SIR ROBERT PEEL
said, that the Government would yield to the wish which had been expressed by the Irish Members.
§ Debate adjourned till Monday, 26th May.
§ House adjourned at Two o'clock.