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pose, would be easy, and the burthens it such a country as this, demanding as it would impose upon the community would does so enormous an importation of the be indeed light. But to return; all the necessaries of life, the only market of writers on this great subject, for at least labour really interfered with by this plan half a century afterwards, such as Sir would be that of foreign countries, and Joshua Child, Sir Matthew Hale, John the only persons who would be otherwise Locke, and many others, placed their than sensibly benefitted would be the idle projects on the manufacturing basis, and profligate paupers. I had prepared properly so called. The work houses myself more particularly for this part of first erected in considerable numbers the measure, but the time is gone. The about a century ago, proceeded upon the ease with which it could be executed, the same idea, and have led to greater evils, certainty of its success, the employment and occasioned a greater additional ex- it would create, and the wages it would pense, in managing the poor, than any distribute, principally at the seasons of Other part of the existing practice. Fully the year when labour is not supposed to aware that they are occasionally well and be the most scarce, the advantage to the humanely managed (and an exemplary parishes of the country and to the public instance occurs in the town where I re- at large, these formed a large part perside), still, on the whole, the system is a spectively of the subject which I have crying evil, and demands immediate re- this night brought before the House; but vision. Manufacturing labour (properly upon these topics, for the reason I have so called) being, therefore, totally out of stated, I must not enter. I shall now the question, it follows, that what Mon- proceed to the means by which I propose to tesquieu emphatically calls “ the uni- put this measure into execution; and this versal manufacture," the culture of the also I must, for the same too obvious soil, is the only resource that remains for reason, touch upon with very inconvenient this important purpose, and happily for brevity. The necessary machinery, then, us it is of all others that which is most for executing this plan I would take, in adapted to the peculiar wants and condi- the first place, from the parochial officers tion of the country. We have lands already appointed by law—the Churchenough, and, as some contend, hands too wardens and Overseers of the poor, who many ; surely, then, there can be no are, as a body, a most useful and meritohesitation whether, or in what manner, rious class; but I would not, however, we shall employ those whom we are other resign the duty to them without control, wise compelled to sustain in idleness. as it might, and sometimes would, so The desiderata on this branch of the sub- happen in the country parishes, that they ject are these: first, to increase employ- would have been parties to the mischiefs ment without improperly interfering with of which I have been speaking, and therethe general market of labour ; secondly, fore not the most proper, or perhaps to sustain at a just remunerating price willing persons to remedy them. To the value of the labour of those who are them, therefore, I would add another imwilling and anxious to work for their sub- portant parochial functionary, to be cresistence; thirdly, to compel those to ated by law for this purpose, whose duty labour who would otherwise seek to be it would be to see, that the various provimaintained in voluntary ideness. All sions of the Act were truly and impartially these objects, each of which are so desir- carried into effect; conjointly with the able, might be secured by taking a pa- present parochial officers, if that might be ; rochial allotment of land, and cultivating but, if the latter should withstand the it by spade husbandry. To the employ- execution of the measure in the manner ment thus created, the unemployed might or spirit in which it is proposed to be and would repair; those also who were carried into effect, then proceeding on his offered totally inadequate wages, such as own authority, subject, however, to an would eventually send them to the parish appeal to the Quarter Sessions as to the to make them up to a living amount, propriety and fairness of his decision. would resort to the same lawful means of This office would probably fall upon the avoiding pauperism and oppression ; and,' resident, or, as he is sometimes called, the lastly, those who wish to subsist without working clergyman, and, if so, from all I labour on the parochial funds, would be have witnessed or read in Committees or by this means prevented so doing. In reports of this House, the better, generally speaking, would it I think be for the be put forth, and worthy of a moment's poor. He was the individual contem- consideration ; it is that founded upon a plated in the Bill of the present Lord rigid view of the rights of property. I Chancellor when he proposed his bene- will speedily dispose of this objection, so volent measure touching education, to as to convert it into an argument in my this House, which demanded local super- favour, if there be any longer an honest intendence and management; but perhaps intention to deal equally in matters of law the appointment should not be thus fixed and equity with the different ranks of by law, but left to the parishioners, the society amongst us. In pleading for the poorest, however, in this case having their restitution of the humble privileges of the votes, or to the Magistrates of the division, poor as I have done, be it recollected that as the farmers might overawe the poor in I have not asked for an indemnity for past their choice; but this I leave to the spoliations, nor for any eleemosynary wisdom of this House to determine. The grants in lieu of them. I merely wish to office, by whomsoever undertaken, would put it to the House as a simple question be a thankless and unprofitable one, but of law and policy, whether the demand I its best and indeed high reward would be, make can be with the least colour of justice the consciousness of largely administering rejected. Sir, the rights of private proto the public prosperity, as well as serving perty, ever since they have been recogto an almost indescribable extent the de- nized, have been made to give way to serving and industrious poor. Its conjoint public necessity, or even convenience, not duty would be, to select sites, and cause indeed by way of sacrifice, but for a reathe erection of a certain number of cot- sonable compensation. Thus in the countages necessary for the decent accom- try the public road is projected, and when modation of the labouring poor of the created, widened, shortened, or changed parish; to see that these and the cottages in its direction, or even a man's field already in being had good and sufficient broken into to obtain the necessary magardens attached to them, adjacent if pos- terials, whether in grass or tillage; the sible, or at a convenient distance; if canal is dug, or the railway driven through otherwise, to determine upon those labour- an entire district, principally for the benefit ers, according to the qualifications already of distant places and persons, so far interstated, who shall have the advantage of fering with the rights of property, and keeping their cow, and to fix upon the often inconveniently, in hundreds of conveniences for their so doing; to ap- parishes. In our cities whole streets are portion, where such a measure would be demolished, bridges erected, new apfound necessary, a plot of land as a work- proaches formed, nay, extensive alterations field for the unemployed poor; and lastly, often carried into effect, whose sole appato ascertain that all these advantages rent object is ornament and display; yet were obtained at a current and reasonable all of these demand, and on such terms as rate as to rent. This officer I would de- the law prescribes, the surrender of private nominate Guardian, or Protector of the property, and the often unwilling removal Poor, investing him with powers to carry from their accustomed situations and esthese propositions into effect, but im- tablished means of subsistence, of numbers posing upon him no duty as to receiving of individuals. Now, I deny that while or disbursing any of the sums required for the object in any such instances, lowever realizing the measure. That this plan proper in itself, is at all comparable in shall stand clear from a multitude of fri- importance to the one at issue, however volous, or even from some real objections, regarded, yet I maintain, that the liberty is more than I anticipate. I defy, how- taken with property in any of these cases ever, its opponents to advance any ob- is infinitely greater than that which I projections against the measure in the slight- pose; and yet that is never urged as a est degree comparable in magnitude to valid ground of objection against extensive that of allowing things to remain as they and important improvements. Show me are, to the utter destruction of the com- then an improvement in any one point of forts and morals of the poor, and the im- view at all comparable to that which minent peril of the peace of society. I promises to give happiness, peace, and will only take up the further time of the prosperity to millions of the people; which House while I anticipate one of these, and would beautify instead of deforming the it shall be that which I think will alone face of the country; which would increase its value and multiply its resources; in a law once more interpose its sacred shield, word, which should restore to the poor, and. and protect the defenceless and the upon just and adequate terms, the privi- wretched from the miseries which they leges which they once gratuitously pos- have too long endured. With these obsessed, and without which it is impossible servations, I beg leave to move to bring in that they should subsist in comfort, or a Bill, having for its object, to better the continue in peace, and which would condition of the labouring poor. effectuate all this by the slightest possible Mr. Cripps said, he seconded the Mo. sacrifice-by none whatever, indeed, when tion with great pleasure, as he hoped it properly computed. Sir, I would fain would lead to beneficial results. He behope that in this House the condition of lieved and hoped the hon. Gentleman was the poor will still meet anxious considera- generally correct in the views he had tion—that here their wrongs will find taken, but there was one point in which redress. The suggestions of private be- he in some degree differed from him. nevolence, aided indeed by the soundest He could not altogether agree with the views of policy and interest, have long hon. Mover in the view taken of the been urged in vain; their wrongs have effects of large enclosure acts. He believed gone on increasing, and will never be that great benefit had often arisen to the redressed except this House interfere. poor from the inclosure of waste lands, Let it do so then, and without delay. Let inasmuch as it had made that which was wealth allow that poverty which inces- previously of little value, worth much more santly labours for its benefit, a comfortable by the labour which had been employed abode wherein to rest. Let those who upon it, and by these means, as well as by demand their summer toil, give them the capital laid out upon it by the proprimeans of employment and subsistence in etors in the vicinity, who were interested the winter season; let the cry of them in its improvement by the additional value that reaped our fields come up before the which thereby attached to their former Lord of the harvest, that Deity who is no properties; the land in such situations respecter of persons, or, if he be, who is was rendered more useful and productive. the respecter of the poor and needy. If Another question, however, in which he feelings of justice and gratitude no longer fully concurred with the hon. Mover was, sufficiently prevail, let those of just ap- that there was little doubt but that, were prehension and of awakened fear be the labour upon our farms done solely by added. Recollect the mighty power with English labourers, there would be no whom we have to deal. Like another redundancy of the labouring population Sampson we may deem it blind, and felt. There was as little doubt, too, that doomed to grind at the mill for our plea- one of the severest evils this class exsure and convenience, but let the econo perienced was in the deficiency of houses mists and politicians take care how they and cottages for the poor in respect of sport much longer with its awakened feel number. Much comfort and health would ings, lest the spirit of vengeance and of result from a fair and proper apportionstrength return upon it, and it bow itself ment of garden ground to each tenement. mightily against the pillars of your un- The garden ground should not be so righteous system, and destroy the social large that it would afford occupation structure, though itself perish in its ruins. altogether to the labourer, so as to render But, Sir, I hope and believe that this him independent enough to decline hiring House will listen to the suggestions of out his services upon the farms in the kindness and benevolence;—that it will neighbourhood. It was difficult to say support a measure which demands the whether the object could be in this inpermanent sacrifice of none of the pro- stance best accomplished by the interperty of the country, but which, on the ference of Government itself, or by the contrary, would greatly lighten the bur- voluntary efforts of land proprietors, thens it now sustains, and, above all, throughout those counties to which alluwould give prosperity and peace to our sion had been so feelingly made by the rural poor. Let the House, then, assume hon. Mover. its noblest character, that of the protector Lord Althorp said, that he entirely of the poor, and, seeing that the sug-concurred --as, unfortunately, be gestions of humanity, and the dictates of obliged to do-in the hon. member for policy have been long disregarded, let the Aldborough's description of the distress

of the poor; and he had been very | ungifted with the sympathies of humanity, anxious to hear what the remedies were was not following the candid course which which the hon. Member proposed to alle- he should have expected from his hon. viate that evil. Those remedies, as he friend. He agreed with him as to the understood, were to give habitations to necessity of affording better habitations the labouring poor, and to attach small for the poor; although he was of opinion portions of ground to them as gardens. with the hon. Member who spoke second, He was inclined to think, that providing that it would be a very great evil to increase small gardens to be cultivated by the them to too great an extent. Upon the poor was a desirable thing; but he thought question of redundancy he should not say that benefit could not be so well attained one word. He believed the laws of popuby legislative enactment as by private lation being imposed by nature had best arrangement. The mode in which the be left to themselves. He might observe, hon. Member intended to effect his object however, that if the Poor-laws were so -namely, by an Act of Parliament, administered as to place the married man appeared to him not to be free from con- in a better situation than the single man, siderable difficulties. At the same time, they did interfere with the natural check as the hon. Member had bestowed such to redundancy which would otherwise pains on all matters connected with this exist. With regard to the proposition for subject, he thought it desirable that the making allotments of small portions of House should agree to give him leave to land to cottagers, there could not be the bring in his Bill. The Bill would then be least objection to it; on the contrary, it placed on the Table and printed, and hon. was now universally admitted, that the Members and the country would have an adoption of a general measure of this opportunity, before another Session, of nature would be most beneficial. Not considering how the law would operate. merely a feeling of benevolence and hu

Mr. Slaney expressed his gratitude to manity would dictate the course marked the hon. Member for Aldborough for the out by his hon. friend, but even when the pains which he had taken with this sub- matter was regarded as a question of selfject. He doubted, however, whether the interest, the inducement was strong to emhon. Member had explained the whole brace the measures he recommended. If cause of the mischief to which he had the poor man had his small piece of land to directed the attention of the House. The cultivate, a powerful stimulus was held out hon. Member had represented the con- to his industry, and he was raised from his dition of the peasantry of this country to present depressed condition, which had, be one of great depression and degrada- in many parts of the country, completely tion. He admitted, with regret, that in demoralized and debased the character some parts of the Kingdom their condition of the peasantry. By adopting this course, was deplorable ; but that was not the case the poor-rates would, in a short time, be in all parts of the country. There was a reduced materially, and thus a service marked and distinct difference between would be rendered both to the landlord the condition of the peasantry in the and the tenant. Nothing could be

orthern and in the southern portion of the more absurd or pernicious than to suppose country. He believed that the cause of that it could be beneficial to the landlord the depression of the poor in the southern or tenant that there should be a high part of the country was the abuse and poor-rate and a low rate of wages. He mal-administration of those laws which entreated the attention of the House for were intended to protect and support few minutes to a paper relative to the them. To provide a remedy, then, for these local taxation in three of the southern and evils it was necessary to go back to those three of the northern counties of England. laws, amend them where they were defective, In the southern counties the bad system and, above all, provide for a due adminis. had been acted upon of placing the tration of them. He should have hailed labourers upon the poor-rates, and making the speech of the hon. member for Ald- an allowance in proportion to the man's borough with unmingled pleasure, but for family; and in some of these counties the the hard terms with which he was pleased poor-rates were, according to the official to assail the political economists of the returns, more than double, and sometimes day. To have held that class of persons triple the amount of the rates assessed up to the detestation of the country, as upon the parishes in the northern counties


of England. This was particularly the namely, the removing the abuses of the case in Sussex, where the system prevailed Poor-laws, and the promoting the welfare to the greatest extent, and where the con of the labouring classes, could not be dition of the peasantry was worse than in pressed upon the attention of the Legisany other county in England. He would lature. He rejoiced, therefore, that the ask any one, who had any doubt on this hon. member for Aldborough had brought subject, to refer to the evidence taken be- forward his motion, and although he did fore the Committees of 1824 and 1829, who not agree in all points with him, he should were appointed to inquire into the condi- be happy to give his humble assistance in tion of the agricultural poor. From the any endeavour to remove those evils and returns it appeared, that in the county of errors in the administration of the PoorSussex the amount of poor-rates, measured laws; and this might be done by returning by the property-tax of 1815, was 6s. 9d. to the Poor-law in its original enactments in the pound, in the county of Bedford it and in its spirit. was 6s. 2d., in the county of Buckingham Colonel Torrens was understood not to it was 55. 5d., in the county of Kent it was offer any opposition to the introduction of 58. 8d., and in the county of Suffolk 58. in the Bill. He would not follow the hon. the pound. Now for the counties in member for Aldborough through the details which no such abuses had existed. In of his plan, for he thought it would be as the county of Northumberland the poor- useless to discuss the causes of, or the rates were but 1s. 7d. in the pound, in reniedies for, the distresses of the labourthe county of Westmoreland 2s. 4d., in ers, with a Gentleman who disclaimed all the county of Cumberland 2s. 1d., and in knowledge of the science which treats of the county of Salop 2s. 4d. Thus, taking the condition of the people, as to argue the average of the rates in the counties about grammar with the professor who where the system prevailed, and that of should avow his ignorance of the theory of the other counties he had mentioned language, or about an operation in surgery where it did not, it appeared, that the poor with a man who boasted his contempt for rates on the latter were not quite equal the study of anatomy. The hon. Member to one-fourth of what they were in the seemed to imagine that he had made a former. And independent of this great valuable discovery in the laws which difference in the rates, the difference in regulated the increase of the human spethe comforts and happiness of the poorer cies, and which he appeared to think classes of the two districts was most strik- should be compared to the discoveries of ing. It was now generally admitted that, a Galileo or a Newton. The hon. Gentlein proportion as the wages were good, so man had found out that a small population would be the conduct of the labouring would increase much more rapidly than a classes. The system of reducing the rate large one; that was, that 200 persons of wages to the lowest possible grade, had would increase much more rapidly than done more to demoralize and corrupt the 400. He certainly could not compliment lower classes of this country than all other the hon. Member on the result be bad circumstances together. The only way to arrived at, for, had he extended the analogy remedy the evils which prevailed in the a little further, he would have arrived at southern parts of England was, to re- a most extraordinary conclusion. He did store the peasantry of those parts to the not intend to offer any opposition to the same condition of independence as the introduction of this Bill, but he certainly peasantry of the north, to go gradually should, if it were persisted in next Session, back to the original administration of the endeavour to point out some of the inconPoor-laws, and let the labourer work out veniences that would result from many his own independence. The gentlemen parts of it. of England were interested in the highest Mr. Briscoe felt called upon to make a degree in promoting any measure for the few observations on this subject, to which amelioration of the condition of the pea- he had paid considerable attention. He santry, and, unless effectual steps were was not unfriendly to the principles of taken, not only would the poorer classes political economy, but they had been errocontinue to suffer from privation, but neously applied to the present question. the higher and middle ranks of society Many who were most anxious to improve would also be materially injured. A sub- the condition and add to the comforts of ject of greater importance than the present, the labouring population of this country,

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