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nage duties should cease with the war; and ties would take the chance of the debate on there was another duty which bore with the present question commencing to-morpeculiar severity on the lower classes of the row, after that motion should be disposed people, and which ought to be got rid of of, he had no objection to its standing over. as soon as possible; he aneant the last duty Lord Howick expressed the same opion Malt, to which he should even prefer vion as his poble friend, as the motion of retaining the Property tax. For these and his bon, friend was one of considerable imother reasons he could not agree to the first portance (the Poor laws), and would not and second resolutions. As to the general conveniently adınit of further procrastinaprinciple, he confessed he was not prepared tion. to enter into it any further than by stating, Lord II. Petty at length left it to the that it appeared to counteract that which discretion of the gentlemen on the other had been hitherto our object, namely, the side, whether the report should be discusrestraining of the Funding system. To that sed now or to-morrow, and the consideraobject we bad closely adhered until the tion of the report was accordingly postyear 1802, wlien a partial departure was poned. made from it; but we were now called upon to do away what was the justification of
House of LORDS. that departure. He warmly agreed to giving the country repose from taxation for Thursday, February 19. several years; but he wished that the noble [MINUTES.] The royal assent was given lord wouid not look so far into futurity, by commission to the Irish Treasury Pills but content himself with proposing a plan bill, the Irish Militia Service bill, the Irish for 4 or 5 years, at the expiration of which Gunpowder Importation bill, the Canada period, the house and the country would Yarn bill, the Seamen and Soldiers' SeducBecome better judges of the systein which tion bill, the Annual Indemnity will, the Conit would be eligible to adopt.
troverted Elections Trial Amendment bill, Mr. H. Thornton requested to know, the Cape of Good Ilope Trade Regulation whether it was intended that the debate bill, the Barrack Commissioners bill, Bowshould proceed at that hour?
ver's Lottery bill, and Lord de Dunstauville's Lord H. Petty observed, that the debate Iadenunity bill. The commisioners were was last week fixed for that evening. If at the lord Chancellor, lords Walsingham and a late hour, it should appear that there were Auckland. - The Newfoundland Fish Imsome gentlemen yet desirous of giving their portation bill, was read a second time, opinions, it would be in the judgment of the house to adjourn the further discussion of
Sousa OF COMMONS. the question. Mr. Rose could see no possible objec
Thursday, February 19. tion to a postponement of the debate. On [MINUTES.] At four o'clock the house a measure of such immense consequence proceeded to ballot for a committee to take he could not think that the noble lord into consideration the petition complaining would press the commencement of a stis- of an undue return for Rochester. Soon cussion at belween 8 and 9 o'clock. Many after, Mr. White appeared at the bar with gentlemen, he for one, were anxious to de- the reduced list, which was as follows: liver their opinions, and there woull be no F. C. Cooper, ešą. R. Dawson, esq. H. chance of ending the debate that night. Shelley, esq. sir R. Barclay, bart. S. Stevens, All he wished tor, was a postponement until est. C. Cockrell, esq. E. Bastard, esq. J. to-morrow; and he had no doubt that the Blackburn, esq. J. Brogden, esq. C. Moore. hon. gent. (Mr. Whitbread), who had a esq. ll. Bankes, esq. J. Asdell, esq. C. motion which stood for to-morrow, would O'Hara, esą. Nominees, Hon. J. W. Ward, readily agree to put it off.
M. A. Taylor, esq.-In consequence of the Lord H. Petty observing that his hon.abserice of a professional person, the house friend was not present, declared that he could not proceed to a ballot for a comcould not answer for him on that subject, mittee on the Down Patrick petition; it but that he had strong reason to believe, therefore necessarily stoord over until to-mor
that as he had three times postponed his row, when it was ordered, or the motion of motion, he would not consent to any further lord Howick, that the house should be called delay. If, however, the hon. gent. oppo.over.--A new writ was ordered for the Borough of Derby, in the room of Edward bers to serve in parliament for the borough Coke, esq. who, since his election, bas ac- of Saltash is in the mayor and free burcepted of the Chiltern hundreds.—Sir Ralph gesses of the borough of Saltash, being Milbanke, from the select committee ap-I menbers of the corporation within the pointed to try and determine the merits of same, and in no other persons. That the the Petition of the hon. Richard Neville said committee have also determined, that and William Henry Fremantle, esq.; and Matthew Russell and Arthur Champeralso of the Petition of Nicholas Vincent, nowne, esqrs are not duly elected ; that esq. John Scott, es. the Rev. Rob. Hugues, the lion. Richard Neville, the petitioner, elerk, Edward Herring, John Smith, and ought to have been returned a burgess to Edmund Nepeau, gentlemen, seserally com- serve in this present parliament for the said plaining of an undue election and return borough; that the said lion. Richard Ne. for the borough of Saltash, in the county ville, is duly elected a burgess to serve in of Cornwall, informed the house, That it this present parliament for the said borough; appeared to the said Committee, That the that the said committee have determined, anerits of the petitions did depend upon the that W. H. Fremantle, esq. the petitioner, right of election; and that therefore the ought to have been returned a burgess to said commillee required the counsel for serve in this present parliament for the said the several parties to deliver, to thie clerk borough; that the said W. H. Fremantle of the said committee, statements, in wri-esq. is duly elected a burgess to serve in ting, of the right of election for which they this present parliament for the said borough: respectively contended; that in cousequence and that the opposition of the said M. Rusthereof, the counsel for the petitioners de- sell and A. Champernowne, esqrs, to the livered in a statement as follows: “That said several petitions, did not appear to the • the right of voting for members to serve in said committee to be frivolous or vexatious. * parliament for the borougli of Saltash is Ordered, That the deputy clerk of the crown • in the mayor avd free burgesses of the bo- do attend this house, to-morrow, with the
rough of Saltash, being members of the last return for the borough of Saltash, and * corporation within the same:' That the amend the same, by rasing out the names of counsel for the sitting members, Matthew M. Russell, esq. and A. Champernowne, esą. Russell and Arthur Champernowne, esq.and inserting the names of the hon. R. Nedelivered in a statement as follows: “That ville, and W. H. Fremantle, esq. instead • the right of election of members to serve thereof.—Mr. Praed, from the select com* in parliament for the borough of Saltas!, mittee appointed to try and determine the • in the county of Cornwall, is in every merils of the petition of T. Berney, J. ' person seised of an estate for life, or some Howard, J. Petchell, jun. E. Smith, M. greater estate, in an entire ancierit bur- Smith, and J. Howard, freeholders of the gage tenement, situate within the
rough county of Norfolk, complaining of an undue aforesaid, whereon an ancient dwelling election and return for the said county, it• house now stands or formerly stood, and in formed the house that the said committee
no other persons.' That, upon the state- lave determined, that the right hon. Wilment delivered in by the counsel for the sit. liam Windham, and Thomas William Coke, ting members, the said committee have de- es. are not duly elected knights of the shire termined, That the right of election, as set to serve in this present parliament for the forth in the said statement, is not the righi said county: and that the oppositiou of the of election for the said borough of Saltash; said right bon. W. Windham and T. W. that upon the statement delivered in by the Coke, esq. to the said petition, did not apcounsel for the said several petitioners, the pear to the said committee to be frivolous said committee have determined, that the or vexatious. And the said determinations right of election, as set forth in the said were ordered to be entered in the Journals statement, is the right of election for the of this house.—Ordered, that Mr. Speaker said borough of Saltash, so far as the said do issue his warrant to the clerk of the right is therein described : that the said crown, to make out a new writ for the elecCommittee, having duly considered the said ting of two knights of the shire to serve in statements, and the evidence adduced be this present parliament for the county of fore them, touching the right of election Norfolk, in the room of the right hon. W. for the said borough of Saltash, have de Windham and T. W. Coke, esq. who have terminerl, that the right of voting for mem- been declared to be not duly elected.
[Poor-Laws Bill.] Mr. Whitbread and to humble the pride of man, these tose and spoke as follows:- Mr. Speaker; 1 schemes, reared upon a foundation apparise to submit to the consideration of this rently so solid, by workmen so able, have house, one of the most interesting proposi- been inadequate to the object they had in tions which ever occupied the attention of view.” It is an assertion now pretty geneany deliberative assembly upon earth. I wish rally made, that the system of our poorto engage you in an attempt at the solution laws has served to degrade those whom it of the most difficult of all political problems; was intended to exalt, to destroy the spirit namely, how to reduce the sum of human of independence, throughout our land; to vice and misery, and how to augment that hold out hopes which cannot be realized; of human happiness and virtue amongst to encourage idleness and vice; and to the subjects of this realm.—Sir, this at. produce a superfluous population, the tempt has been often and fruitlessly made; offspring of improvidence, and the early nevertheless I do not think the success of victim of misery and want. That which it impossible. Ilowever great the diffi- in speculation ought to have been our culty, it is our duty- to endeavour at least glory, has been turned to our reproach. to overcome it:“Sir, I will not now detain A committee of this house, appointed to the house by an investigation of the ori- enquire into the state of the poor of Ire. ginal constitution of society; or enter into land :(where great wretchedness is said to the abstract right of man to the succour prevail) and to suggest some remedy, have and support of his fellow creatures. Whe- solemnly rejected the system of your poorther that right exist or not; as individuals, laws, as likely, not only to be exceedingly we could never refuse relief to innocence, oppressive to the land owner, but to aggraor even to guilt in distress; neither, as vate the distress of those for whose relief part of a' legislature, could we ever be they would be enacted.-Sir, there has brought to say that such assistance shall been a great revolution in the public mind. not be attainable through the medium of Till within a very few years of the period the law. More than two centuries have in which I am speaking, the 43d of Elizaelapsed, since after a succession of efforts, beth was, if I may be allowed the exprestending to the same end, there was embo-sion, considered as the bible on this subject. died upon your statute-book, the great Many persons observing the rapid increase Christian principle, “ that you should do of the burthens imposed by that statute, unto others as you would that others have projected plans of reform, and the should do unto you.” What theory could legislature has adopted many new acts : be more delightful? As a state, you un- but they have all proceeded upon the same dertook to feed the hungry-to clothe the principle. No one ever ventured to sur. naked-to visit the sick-to protect the mise that the system itself was radically fatherless to assist the widow-to find em-detective and vicious: and even the last ployment for the healthy and necessitous-projector, Mr. Pitt, to whose benevolent and to compel work from the dissolute and intention I wish to bear sincere testimony, the idle.-Sir, these plans were devised proceeded upon the supposition that the during the reign of Elizabeth; the glories base upon which we had so long stood was of which are still vivid in the annals of our stable and sound. His plan proved abor. history. They were projected and car- tive, and indeed in most of its parts it was, ried into execution under the auspices of I am confident, absolutely impracticable. some of the wisest statesmen that ever pre- I might presume to mention myseli as sided in the councils of any country. They having, about the same tine, and beiore, were not the sudden production of one at a still earlier date, proposed to the house particular period. They had occupied the the adoption of some regulations, which I attention of the legislature during the then thought would be beneficial. The whole of that long and prosperous reign. house did not, in either instance, think From the 5th to the 14th-to the 18th-proper to pass them: and, sir, having now to the 39th down to the +3d of the queen, in view objects of a much more extensive we find a constant succession of statutes, nature, it is not my intention again to rebearing testimony to the constant direc- vive those regulations. But, sir, the period tion of the care of the government towards is arrived, in which I think it seems, by that object : till, at last, the work was common consent, to be admitted, that complete. - But, sir, as if it were to con- some steps must be taken. You have found the speculations of human wisdom, lately had severe visitations from the hand Vol. VIII,
of Providence, which have roused your at- in the contemplation of my task, I shall tention to the state of your cominunity. meet with the favour of this house. I It has been said, that those calamities have desire no support from my best friends, been greatly increased by the depression but that which the merits of my plan may they have occasioned of the character of seem to deserve. I am sure I shall enyour labouring poor. It has been said, counter no opposition but that which its that necessity having overcome the honest demerits extort; and I ain equally sure pride which formerly withheld a man from that at this moment there does not exist resorting to parochial relief, he no longer an individual throughout the nation, who cares to recover his independence, but does not wish me success.—Sir, I desire now voluntarily resorts to that assistance here to put in a rational claim to your atwhich he would before have indignantly tention, by assuring both you and the house, avoided. That such was the effect during that I am no visionary enthusiast
, seeking the continuance of scarcity (and even since after universal plenty and comfort, and it has ceased) no man can deny: but, sir, imaginary perfection. I know the laws of I am willing to believe, and not without God to be inmutable, and bow to their ulground, that that effect is gradually wear-coutroulable force. I believe man lo be ing otf; that the mind of the labouring boru to labour as the sparks fly upwards; class is recovering its elasticity, and that that a certain portion of misery is insepathe proper pride of independenee has, in a rable from mortality; and that all plans degree at least, resumed its place.-Sir, by for the lodging, clothing, and feeding of the accurate returns which have of late all mankind, with what may be called comyears been laid before parliament, your, si- fort, are quite impossible in practice.tuation is exposed to your view. The Sir, there is a saying upon record, of one spectacle is indeed fearful, but it must be of the most amiable monarchs that ever contemplated. In order to cure any wound, filled a throne, (I mean Henry IV. of we must know its exact situation and depth. France) which from its benevolence iş sa -By the abstracts then upon your table, captivating, that it has spread through all which were made up in the year 1803, it languages, and passed through every mouth. will appear, that upon a population in Eng. He is said to have expressed a wish, that land and Wales, (exclusive of your army he might live to see the day when every and navy) of 8,870,000 souls; not less peasant in his kingdom should have a pul. than 1,234,000 are partakers of parochial let in his kettle. Sir, I will not indulge relief. That is, that nearly one seventh in such a wish with regard to the subjects part of your population is indebted to the of this kingdom, because I know that pby. rest wholly, or in part, for their support : sically it cannot be accomplished. The and by far the larger part of that number earth does not produce wherewithal to is wholly subsisted without any exertion of gratify such a desire; and whatever may their own. Sir, it is also proved that, ex- be the first impulses of our feeling, in ose clusively of all collateral expence, such as der to do good, we must chastise and re: army, militia, &c. which is raised at the duce them within the sphere of action.same time with the rate for the relief of the Sir, I have read in an account of the selpoor, and paid out of it; there had been tlements in New South Wales, that some of raised, in the year ending at Easter, 1803, the unhappy convicts who were transported for the maintenance and relief of the poor to that distant clime, laboured under an unalone, the sum of 4,267,0001.; being al. accountable delusion, that adjoining to the nost double the sum raised for the same land in which they were destined to dwell, purpose, on the average of the years 1783, there existed a region wherein the earth 1784,1785, and nearly treble the sum raised brought forth her fruits spontaneously, and in 1776.–Sir, that a remedy for an evil so ber productions could be enjoyed without great and so rapidly increasing, ought im. toil
, in luxurious and sensual indolence. mediately to be sought, all will be ready So strong was the impression, that they to agree: and I stand up before you, under actually set out in quest of this fancied the persuasion that I-shall be able to pro- spot. Their fate need not be told. pose to you improvements, regulations, and Some, after incredible toils and hardships, modifications to effect that end, which will returned exhausted with bunger and fanot be found wholly unworthy of your at. tigue; the rest perished in the wilderness, tention. However small my personal and their carcases became a prey to the claiais to consideration may be, I am sure beasts of the desert and the birds of the
air.-Thus, sir, if any politician under altban would have existed without them: similar species of delusion, were to profess that “though they may have alleviated a that he could lead mankind by any path little the intensity of individual misfore to the attainment of universal plenty and tune, they have spread the evil over a comfort, he and his followers would imme- larger surface.” (Maltbus, v. ii. p. 149.} diately be overwhelmed in the wilderness Many persons agreeing in this position, of error.-But bere, I must stop to say, have wished that the whole system was that after the most anxious and patient re- well expunged from our statute book ; search into the state of society in these and perhaps I should not go too far in kingdoms, during a long period, I believe saying that such is the prevailing senti. the situation of the lower and more useful ment. But, sir, I think no one has been classes to be better in every respect than bold enough to propose a total and imat any former time: and be who shall at- mediate abrogation of the poor-laws. teinpi to persuade them to the contrary, Sir, I need hardly say, that no man could must be either weak, misinformed, or be bold enough' to propose that, which wicked.-Sir, I have in view the practical must in its operation generate a most forbenefit of mankind. In order to form midable poliiical convulsion, when the myself for this day, I have had recourse to good to be obtained would be at best proprinciples and unerring experience. Sir, blematical and uncertain. But supposing I have been undoubtedly assisted by data the ultimate good to be certain : could upon your table, furnishing grounds of we, to obtain it, give our consent to a action, such as none of my predecessors measure which, in its dreadful execution, had the good fortune to possess; and the would be more widely fatal than any edict subject has lately been submitted to an which ever proceeded from the hand of investigation much more accurate than any tyrant conqueror upon earth; which any it had ever before undergone. One would spread desolation, famine, and philosopher in particular "has arisen death throughout your land ; and consign amongst us, who has gone deeply into the to a premature grave, infirmity, age, in. causes of our present situation. I mean fancy, and innocence. Sir, the immediate Mr. Malthus. His work upon Population abrogation of these laws is absolutely out has, I believe, been very generally read ; of the question. I will dwell no longer and it has completed that change of opi- upon it.-But their gradual abolition has nion with regard to the poor-laws, which been suggested as practicable : and I rehad before been in some measure begun. collect iwo plans only which have been Sir, I have studied the works of this author laid before the public for that purpose. with as much attention as I am capable of The one bears the name of Mr. Arthur bestowing upon any subject. I am de- Young, and was also patronized, as I have sirous of doing the most ample justice to been told, by an hon. baronet, formerly a his patient and profound research ; to the member of this house, sir William Pul. inimitable clearness of his demonstration, teney; one whose opinion must always and to the soundness of the principles on carry with it great weight. The other is which he proceeds. I believe them to be suggested by Mr. Malihus himself. Mr. incontrovertible. But in many of the Young's plan is to take the amount of the conclusions to which be comes, I materi- rate raised for the relief of the poor at a ally differ from him. Although I believe given time, and to enact that it should not the design and intention of the author on any account be increased. Ultimateto be most benevolent, and that so much ly, I suppose the intention to be (or else is to be collected from his writings, 1 it would not tend to an extinction of the think any man who reads them, ought to rate, however it might confine it) to draw place a strict guard over his heart, lest it the line more and more narrow, until at become hardened against the distresses of last the rate should be totally done away. his fellow creatures; lest in learning that I confess, sir, that I can by no means misery and vice must of necessity main-concur in the wisdom, or even the practitain a footing in the world, he give up all cability of this scheme. But it has been attempt at their subjugation --Sir, this so ably discussed by Mr. Malthus, in the philosopher has delivered it as his opinion, appendix to the second volume of his that the poor-laws have not only failed in work, that I will thank the house to their object, but that they have been attend to me whilst I read the passage ; productive of much more wretchedness and it is remarkable enough, that in a