HL Deb 07 June 1852 vol 122 cc77-8

presented a petition from Inhabitants of Manchester praying for an alteration in the present system of poor relief, and for the introduction of a system of productive labour for paupers. The noble Earl read the petition as length, and said that it expressed the opinions which were largely entertained on the subject in one of the most important cities in the empire. He presented the petition out of respect to his neighbours, but did not wish it to be supposed that he was a supporter of its doctrines.


said, that the question raised in this petition was one very popular with those who took only a one-sided view of the subject; but in his opinion nothing could be more injurious to the interests of the community than the course suggested by the petitioners. He objected to their plan of converting the poorhouses into a species of manufactories. It was most unjust to the honest and industrious and self-supporting labourer, whom it exposed to the most unfair competition with a set of paupers, who must at any rate be supported at the public expense. Such a system of supporting the poor in workhouses, hospitals, and asylums, had depreciated the rate of wages in this metropolis to a great, and, he might even say, an unnatural extent.

After a few words from the Earl of DONOUGHMORE,

Petition was laid on the table.