HL Deb 09 February 1830 vol 22 cc264-6
Lord Teynham

said, in moving for various important Returns, he could not but press on their Lordships the necessity of considering the present distressed state of the agricultural class, and the great obligation which lay upon Parliament to take measures for their immediate relief. He concluded with moving for a return of the amount of money levied and expended for the relief of the poor in each parish in England and Wales, for the year ending 25th March 1830; specifying the amount paid for other purposes than the actual relief of the poor.

The Duke of Wellington

said, he had not the slightest objection to afford the House or the noble Lord all the information which could possibly be required, but the last time that similar information had been applied for, a year and a half elapsed before the Returns could be procured— considerable expense was incurred for the purpose; and he really believed that after the Returns had been made out they were never once looked at. The Returns for which the noble Lord sought would demand reference to many thousand parishes, he therefore put it to the noble Lord, whether for such a purpose it was worth while to incur so heavy an expense as would unavoidably be incurred by calling for these Returns, and the preparing them for the House?

The Duke of Richmond

said, he was quite sure that the Returns already before the House would prove amply sufficient to establish any degree of agricultural distress arising from the unequal pressure of burthens for which the noble Lord might be disposed to contend. If his object were to prove that the land was unduly burthened, turn where he might he need be at no loss for evidence in support of that position; but it would be infinitely better if the noble Lord, instead of moving for those Returns, would give his vote against the measures of the noble Duke's Government. If the noble Lord, on the first night of the session, had voted in the minority instead of swelling the ranks of the noble Duke, it would have been a much greater public service than moving for returns of this description. To do real service to the state, noble Peers ought to support a general parliamentary inquiry into the state of the country, and there they would learn quite enough to supersede the necessity of moving for any further returns. Let the noble Lord only withdraw his support from the Government of the noble Duke, and to that extent at least he will do a public service; not but that he (the Duke of Richmond) regretted as much as any noble Peer could do, the necessity under which he felt himself of opposing the measures of the noble Duke, especially on subjects connected with the state of the landed interests.

Lord Teynham

said, after the remarks of the noble Duke he would consent to withdraw this motion; but accompanied that withdrawal with a notice, that on Tuesday, the 20th of April, he should move for a Committee to inquire into the state of the Poor-laws, and the administration thereof—previous to which, he should move certain resolutions declaratory of his views upon that subject, allowing sufficient time for noble Lords to make up their minds as to the most expedient measures of relief. He voted with Government on the first night of the session, on the ground that respect to his Majesty required that the Address proposed by his Ministers on that occasion should experience the general support of the House, but no one could more cordially concur than he did in the assertion that the state of the country demanded immediate inquiry. [hear]

Motion, by leave of the House, withdrawn.