HL Deb 11 March 1841 vol 57 cc105-6
The Duke of Wellington

Seeing the noble Marquess (Normanby) in his place, and understanding that there will be no opposition to the motion for papers of which I have already given notice, I will not now trouble your Lordships with any observations on the subject. Your Lordships are aware, that when the Poor-law Amendment Bill passed the House, extraordinary powers were given to the commissioners, but that also measures were taken by Parliament to prevent the abuse of those powers without such abuse coming to the knowledge of the Government, the Parliament, or the public. They were directed to keep an accurate, record in writing of all their proceedings, and no doubt if that direction has been minutely followed, every transaction can be traced from its origin up to the order of the commissioners. I will now therefore move, in consequence of the discussions which have recently taken place, that an humble Address be presented to her Majesty, praying that her Majesty will be pleased to order that there be laid before your Lordships' House a copy of the record in writing of all the proceedings of the Poor-law commissioners relative to the unions of Clonmel, Cashell, Naas, and Mountmellick.

The Marquess of Normanby

had no objection to the motion, but as he had led their Lordships to expect that Mr. Nicholls would be this day in attendance on the House, he begged to state, that he had to-day received a letter from that gentleman, assigning two reasons for his absence. First, it had happened that he was absent from Dublin at the time the correspondence as to the election of the returning officer of Clonmel took place, and therefore he could give their Lordships no personal information on the subject; and, secondly, at the present moment, in consequence of the elections going on in all parts of the country for guardians, his absence from Dublin would be exceedingly inconvenient to the public service. He thought it right to state, that those letters had been written before Mr. Nicholls had heard of the second complaint which had been made, in consequence of which, he had written to Mr. Nicholls, desiring him to come over, at whatever inconvenience, and therefore he hoped that he would be present on Monday. The whole matter, however, could be explained by Mr. Stanley, the secretary to the Poor-law commissioners, who had signed the letter, and who had offered an explanation to him, stating that there was no intention to deceive; and, indeed, he could not see what was to be gained by deception. He admitted there had been some irregularity; but, as the explanation was very complicated, it would be doubtless more satisfactory to their Lordships, to himself, to the Government, and to Mr. Stanley, that that gentleman should have an opportunity of giving their Lordships that explanation himself. Therefore, as soon as the motion of the noble Duke should be disposed of, he would take the opportunity of moving, that Mr. Stanley be ordered to attend on their Lordships on Monday next.

The Earl of Glengall,

having brought forward these complaints relative to the Poor-law commissioners, could assure their Lordships that he was fully prepared to substantiate every allegation he had made, by evidence, either at the bar of the House or before a Committee; and as to there being no intention to deceive, he could prove by evidence, that what was done had been done for the express purpose of deception, and for no other.

The Marquess of Normanby

said, that that would all come out at the proper time. He had not formed a decided opinion, but had only stated, that upon a cursory examination of these papers, there did not appear to him to be any intention to deceive, and that he could not see what object could be obtained by such deception; but, at the same time, he had stated most distinctly that it was clear an irregularity had been committed.

Motion agreed to.

The Marquess of Normanby

then moved, that Mr. Stanley be ordered to attend the House on Monday next.

Agreed to, but the day was subsequently altered to Tuesday.

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