HC Deb 17 February 1870 vol 199 cc428-9

said, he would beg to ask the President of the Poor Law Board, Whether his attention has been drawn to the case of a pauper, named Ann Howe, who was removed in July last from the Union of Pontypridd to the Union of South Molton, together with her six children, although two of them were earning wages fully sufficient for their own maintenance; whether he was aware that the legality of the order was disputed; that, pending the appeal against it, the pauper and her family returned to Pontypridd, but failed to replace the two children in the situations they had previously held; and that the pauper, on again applying to the Pontypridd Union for relief, was threatened with committal as a vagrant; and, whether he is of opinion that it is desirable that any measure should be taken to prevent the recurrence of similar cases?


Yes, Sir, my attention has been drawn to this sad exhibition of parochial cross purposes. It is one of those occurrences which I believe are now comparatively rare, but which used to be quite within the common practice. I am informed that one of this woman's children was earning 10s. a-week. I am aware that the legality of the order was disputed. How she managed to raise the funds to carry herself and her six children 100 miles, I do not know. That is a matter which I have not been able to solve. It is not the truth that she was threatened with committal as a vagrant, but she was told that she was liable to have proceeding's instituted against her. She was taken into the workhouse, and subsequently she received out-door relief. I believe the family are now in receipt of the same wages that they had before. The right hon. Gentleman asked me whether it is proposed that any measures should be taken to prevent the recurrence of similar cases. On an occasion of this kind it is impossible for me to go into a discussion of the Law of Settlement; but I do not think that because in isolated cases the application of the law has been injudicious and extravagant, it necessarily follows that the law itself is in fault.