HC Deb 02 April 1868 vol 191 cc704-5

said, he rose to ask the Secretary to the Poor Law Board, Whether it is a fact that the Chairman of the Gravesend and Milton Board of Guardians objected to the appointment as porter of a person, otherwise well qualified, on the ground that he was a Roman Catholic; whether such objection caused his rejection; and, whether he will have any objection to lay any Correspondence on the subject upon the table of the House?


said, in reply, that communications had been received by the Poor Law Board from Mr. Sullivan, a Roman Catholic priest of Gravesend, and two others of the same parish, respecting the subject referred to. The Gravesend guardians, having advertised for a porter, selected two applicants from those who responded; only one, however, attended, and he was a Roman Catholic, named Duggan. The guardians, therefore, postponed the election. The hon. Member was quite right in supposing that the only apparent reason for Duggan's rejection was his religion; but it should be stated that the resolution was unanimous on the part of the guardians. It was, perhaps, needless to add that the regulations of the Poor Law Board contained nothing to prevent the election of a Roman Catholic as a porter to a workhouse; but guardians were perfectly free—and the Board had no power to compel them to elect any particular man. The Papers on the subject consisted merely of the Correspondence between Mr. Sullivan and those who acted with him and the Board; and, as he conceived it would not serve the public to lay it on the table, he proposed to communicate with the hon. Member on the subject in private if he desired to do so.