HL Deb 18 June 1868 vol 192 cc1743-4

Amendments reported, (according to Order.)


said, it would be in their Lordships' recollection that in the course of the discussion the other night he stated that, in the event of the House deciding on the rejection of the clause for removing idiots from workhouses, he would on the Report propose the clause that was originally in the Bill, but which had been rejected by the Select Committee. An objection was thereon taken by a noble Lord (Earl Grey) that such a clause ought to originate in the other House, Recognizing the force of that objection, he should be wanting in respect to their Lordships if he were now to propose the clause, and therefore he abstained from doing so.


said, that the Bill originally provided that strange ministers of religion should be allowed to visit the workhouses only "at the request of an inmate." Now these words were struck out of the present Bill. But unless the noble Earl had some valid and convincing reason for the omission of these words, he hoped he would re-insert them.


said, he must decline the suggestion for two reasons—first, that the words were found to interfere with that freedom of religious opinion which it was the object of the Poor Law Board to secure; and secondly, that there were often in the workhouses young children and others who were unable to recognize the value of religious instruction; and in fact the persons whom it was most important to visit were the least likely to ask for visitors.


said, the reasons given by the noble Earl for not complying with his request were not at all satisfactory.


thought that the right which the Bill would give to able-bodied paupers to go out of the workhouse once a week under the cloak of enabling them to attend once every Sunday at some place of worship of his own denomination was an indulgence wholly contrary to the principle on which, that class of paupers should be dealt with. Then there ought to be a definition of what was "a convenient distance" in the clause giving permission to paupers to attend a place of religious worship. He apprehended that those facilities for going out would lead to mischief in affording opportunities to paupers to go away from a workhouse, leaving their families behind them, and would moreover prove completely subversive of discipline.


thought there was much in the objection of the noble Chairman of Committees. He was against fettering the discretion of Guardians in these matters, as he believed the effect of such a course would be to render good men unwilling to act in that capacity.


said, he did not think the Bill went too far in the direction of giving the inmates of workhouses opportunities of going out.


was of opinion that the objections of his noble Friend (Earl Fortescue) and the noble Chairman of Committees were not well founded.

Amendments made; Bill to be read 3a To-morrow; and to be printed as amended. (No. 162).