HL Deb 19 March 1847 vol 91 cc200-2

presented petitions from the grand jury of the comity of Wicklow against the principle of giving out-door relief in Ireland, against altering the present mode of rating, and for encouragement of emigration. The object of the petitioners was undoubtedly a good one; but they, in common with many other persons, had incorrect ideas of the power of a Government on such a subject. The exertions that were being made by individuals, he thought, might be encouraged; and he suggested that a provision might be introduced into the Bill granting a loan of 1,500,000l. for the improvement of the land in Ireland, authorizing the advance of money on the same terms, on condition that it should be employed in promoting emigration.


presented petitions from Storrington, Sussex, and from the Newell Union, against the Poor Removal Act. He thought it unfortunate it should be stated in Parliament that the legal construction of the Act was totally opposite to the intention of the Legislature. The law of settlement could not be settled in a single Session; and no Government should have undertaken it in the last Session of a Parliament.


said, it might have been intended that the operation of the Act should be retrospective as well as prospective; but the intention of the Legislature could only be collected from what it actually said. He agreed with the report of the Committee, that no alteration of the Act was advisable now till the whole question of the law of settlement had undergone consideration. He believed, on the whole, the measure had worked well, both for the poor and the land.


thought much of the difficulty had been caused by the construction put on the Act by the lawyers, who generally made "confusion worse confounded."

After a few words from LORD WALSINGHAM,


said, he had never received more applications on any subject than on this Poor Removal Act. They came from all quarters, from persons perfectly understanding their mother tongue, but who were quite unable to understand the stepmother tongue in which this Act of Parliament was written. The oppressive operation of the Act was not what they most complained of; their chief complaint was, that they could not comprehend the meaning of the Act, and were utterly at a loss to know what to do with it.


thought a declara- tory or temporary Act should not be passed while they were looking forward to a change in the whole system.

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