The Marquis of Downshire
presented a Petition from the town of Newry, in favour of the introduction of the Poor-laws into Ireland. He had avoided hitherto giving an opinion on that important subject, as he thought that it embraced the most various and conflicting considerations. It was a question of the last importance, and required time and deliberation to understand and satisfactorily to arrange it. If the introduction of Poor-laws into Ireland would improve the condition of the lower orders, he would most gladly give it his support; but he considered the subject to be as yet in too crude a state to enable him to decide that the introduction of them would have such a beneficial result. He was happy to understand that a mea- 407 sure was about to be introduced in the other House of Parliament which would tend materially to give employment to the people. The measure was one by which encouragement was to be held out for the drainage of bogs and wet lands, and it was similar to one which he had introduced last year, but which, after having been nearly carried through Parliament, unfortunately failed. He considered, at the time, the failure of his bill to be a misfortune to Ireland; but if the subject were now taken up, as he understood it was, in the House of Commons, he would agree that it was a blessing, and not a misfortune, and he was glad to see the bill in such good hands.