HL Deb 28 May 1868 vol 192 cc946-9

Order of the Day for the House to be put into a Committee on this Bill read.


said, there were two provisions of the Bill which seemed to him open to serious objection. In the first place, he did not think it right to deprive the small parishes of the right of appointing each its own representative to the Board of Guardians of the union—thus depriving them of any control over the expenditure of funds to which they had contributed a part; and, in the next place, he objected to give to every inmate of a workhouse a statutable right to go outside to attend religious worship. He thought this point would require consideration, because it was to be feared that persons would avail themselves of such a right for the purpose of getting off from workhouses and leaving their children behind them.

House in Committee.

Clauses 1 to 4 agreed to.

Clause 5 (Poor Law Board may unite small Parishes for the Election of Guardians).

THE EARL OF DEVON moved to insert after "Parish" the words "in a Union."


said, this clause would violate the principle that representation should go with taxation, because the smaller parishes of a union would be taxed without having representatives of their own on the Board, and thus the control over the expenditure would rest entirely with the larger parishes. He proposed that the clause be struck out.


hoped their Lordships would not expunge the clause. Where each parish was taxed by itself it was fair that each parish should have a representative on the Board; but since union rating for various purposes had been introduced, it would be absurd to give a small parish, that might perhaps consist of only 300 persons, a representative of its own. If this were done the representation of the smaller parishes would be out of all proportion to their population and rated value. The change proposed would leave them as much power at the Board of Guardians as they were fairly entitled to.

On Question, "Whether to insert? Their Lordshipsdivided.—Contents 56; Not-Contents 28: Majority 28.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Several clauses agreed to; some postponed.

Clause 22 (Mow the Religion of Children to be entered in the Creed Register).


said, he did not think the parents who deserted their children should be allowed to exert any control over their religious education. To do so would be to give a premium to child-desertion. He would therefore move the insertion of words dispensing with the requirement that deserted children should be educated in the faith of their parents.

After ("Child") moved to insert ("not being a deserted Child").—(Earl Grey.)


hoped that their Lordships would not assent to the Amendment proposed by the noble Earl. The provision objected to was already in force with respect to orphan children.


supported the Amendment. Respect was very properly paid to the religious feelings and opinions of the deceased parents of orphans; but when parents deserted their children they forfeited all their rights over them to the State, which had a right to educate them in the manner it believed to be best for their temporal and eternal welfare.


said, that the words objected to were requisite in order to do justice to the various religious bodies, and to prevent a large number of deserted children whose parents belonged to the Roman Catholic Church from being sent to Church of England schools.


thought it wrong to tax the poor ratepayers of this country in order to support and educate the children of Irish parents who emigrated to America, leaving their children to be a burden upon the taxpayers of this country.


said, that one of the most important functions of the Poor Law Board was to undertake the education of destitute children in this country. If the religion of the parents of destitute children could not be ascertained, they should be regarded as belonging to the Established Church of the country.


said, he did not pretend to question the earnestness of the noble Earl's advocacy of the Established Church; but it should be remembered that the Established Church was, so to speak, in the crucible at present, and if the legislation now sought to be applied to Ireland prevailed, and if a deserted child had no other religion than that of the Established Church, it occurred to him to ask what its religion would be where there was no Established Church at all?


said, that deserted children necessarily became the children of the State, who stood towards them in loco parentis; and it was the clear duty of the State to educate them in what was the religion of the State.

On Question? Their Lordships divided: —Contents 42; Not-Contents 60: Majority 18.

Clause agreed to.

House resumed; and to be again in Committee on Monday the 15th of Junenext; Bill to be printed as amended (No. 132)

House adjourned at a quarter before Seven o'clock, till To-morrow, half past Ten o'clock.