HL Deb 02 April 1849 vol 104 cc134-5

said, he wished to trouble the House with a few words of explanation on a personal matter relative to some remarks made a few nights since by a noble Earl (the Earl of Harrowby), in reference to a return moved for by him (the Earl of Eglinton) on a former occasion, respecting the Polish refugees in this country. He had no idea that the noble Earl intended to bring forward the question on Friday evening, did not come to the House; but he report of the proceedings in and had the public journals. It appeared from the statement made by the noble Earl, that be (the Earl of Eglinton) had said that the Polish refugees in this country were so dissolute as to be unworthy of public assistance. Now, what he really did say was, that no doubt there were many individuals belonging to that nation who were deserving of their admiration, and worthy of their sympathy; but it was, nevertheless, true the generality of them were turbulent. He stated he had the highest possible admiration for many of the Polish nation; and nothing could be more at variance with this statement than to assert that he said they were utterly worthless and dissolute. He thought it was a misapplication of the funds of the State to give an allowance to any foreigners—be they Poles, or anybody else—who had no claim on this country. No doubt many of the Poles were deserving of private charity; but he did not think that any foreigners ought to receive allowances from the Imperial Treasury. He did not quite understand the discrepancy that occurred between this return and the miscellaneous estimates. He found in the miscellaneous estimates that the allowance for the Poles was estimated at 8,700l. during the year from the 31st of March, 1848, to the 3Ist of March, 1849. But in the return he found that, from the 28th of March, 1848, to the 26th of March, 1849, the whole amount was only 6,659l., leaving a difference of two thousand and odd pounds to be expended during a few days. Either the miscellaneous estimates were not made out correctly, or those returns were not correct, or the Poles had been in very great distress during those few days.


said, it was rather a petty warfare to be carried on against the unfortunate Poles to institute an investigation into their lives and morals, and believe all the tittle-tattle that was said against them. The information sought to be obtained when the return was moved for was of this character; and he was sorry that the noble Earl, because he disapproved of the allowance to the Poles, should have sought to attack their private character.


had only wished to explain that he did not characterise the whole of the Poles as unworthy and profligate. With reference to the statement which he had made when he moved for the returns, that the medical relief afforded to the Poles had been chiefly for diseases arising from profligacy, he was very glad to find from the statement made by the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Lansdowne) on Friday evening, that no case had been made out to justify that statement; and he regretted having made it.

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