13 MARCH 1847, Page 10



In the House of Commons, last night, when Lord Joule RUSSELL moved khe order of the day for going into Committee on the Poor Relief (Ire- land) Bill, be took occasion to explain the actual state of the measures for the relief of destitution in Ireland-

" Sir, in the midst of the present afflicting circumstances of Ireland, I think it is due to the House—with the darkness surrounding us, and the perils before us —to acquaint them with the steps that are taken from time to time, and with those measures which may at a future period have a serious influence on the des- tinies both of that country and of this." Be first glanced at what Government had done, and at what they refused to do. They had kept 10,000 tons of grain in store for the use of those places which have not supplies in the usual way of trade; they had granted 50,0001. for seed; and they had slightly augmented the fund to aid the progress of destitute emigrants inland from Quebec and Montreal: but they had reflibed to undertakes genre' corn „importation, or the cultivation of the land, or the responsibility of conducting and promoting emigration; believing that the interference of Go- vernment would not facilitate and increase, but would impede and diminish those operations. The amount spent on relief works in the month of Feb was 944,141L; the number of persons employed in the last week, 708,228. In order to release labour for the purposes of ploughing and sowing, notice has been Liven from the Treasury to the .Board of Works, that the number employed Should be reduced by 20 per cent, and that thenceforward the process of reduc- tion should continue, gradually to introduce the new system.

Lord John had received a deputation to present a memorial, signed by 64 Peers and 43 Irish Members of the House of Commons, embodying resolutions respect- ing the new Poor Relief Bill, and especially objecting to the provision of out-door relief for the able-bodied. Lord John insisted upon the necessity of giving such relief for the destitute when the workhouse is full, under the check of a labour- lest, as in England. He had asked the deputation what they would substitute for his proposition; and perhaps in that House gentlemen would be more success- ful in suggestion than the deputation had been. They had talked of voluntary charity: there is, Lord John admitted, much charity in Ireland, but it is the charity not of the rich to the poor, but of the poor to the very poor. As a body, the owners of property in Ireland have not done what they ought in the crisis, even proportionately to their means. In England, the average rate levied for the relief of the poor amounts to Is. 7id. in the pound; in Ireland, it is 54d. Every one has been shocked by the number of deaths in the union of Skibbereen: the value of property in that union is estimated at 98,0001., its real value is 130,0001.: the poor-rate is 6d. in the pound; an additional rate of 3d. assessed in November last has never been levied.

Lord John Russell defended another of the clauses which had been attacked— the clause increasing the number of ex-officio Guardians. He hoped that many vital questions in Ireland are on their way to solution, not by legislative enact- ments, but by the influence of popular and national feeling. But he should despair of the working of this or of any other bill unless all classes were to cooperate in strenuous exertions for the common good. "it was stated the other night that there were in the Cabinet Irish landed pro- prietors, and their names were mentioned. Two, three, or four Irish proprietors, have seats in the Cabinet; and it was implied that they had been enabled to in-

fluence the deliberations of the Cabinet for their own purposes, and had obtained an undue bias for their own class. These members of the Cabinet are parties with us in proposing this bill—of this bill which imposes such burdens on the landed proprietors; and they add the weight of their authority to the introduc- tion of this measure; and it is on their authority, and in the name of the Govern- ment to which I belong, that I ask the House to go into Committee on this bill." (Much cheering.)

A debate more animated than novel ensued. Mr. Smarr ORD O'BRufm complimented Lord John Russell's speech, but retorted his reproaches with criticism on official blunders in Ireland; and repeated his own declara- tion at a former sitting, that he would rather have the English Poor. law, clause by clause, than the present bill. Mr. DILLON BROWNE concurred in this.

Mr. GREGORY, Captain BATESON, and Mr. SHAW, objected to out-door relief.

The Minister was supported by Mr. POULETT SCROPE, Mr. ELLICE, and Sir BENJAMIN HALL.

Sir WILLIAM MOLESWORTH advocated the Poor-law; but reasserted the necessity of further large measures, especially systematic colonization. As to the mere nominal owners of land, they are a curse to their country and their order; they must be got rid of, and their property transferred, like that of bankrupt traders, to those who can work it efficiently.

A little before one o'clock this morning, the debate was adjourned, till Monday.

Earlier in the evening, Mr. HENRY BArt.xim elicited an important de- claration from Lord John Russell. He observed that France and Belgium have for some time past prohibited :the exportation of corn; agents for the Belgian and French Governments are in England buying up grain; and he wanted to know from the First Lord of the Treasury, whether. Govern- ment, having regard to these things, would feel called upon to prohibit the exportation of corn from this country?

Lord Joilar RUSSELL said, that although he had received no notice of the question, he had no objection to state the general opinion of the Go- vernment— " We are perfectly aware that there is at present a very large demand of man for Belgium and France, and that prices are rising in this country in consequence; but we are of opinion that the prohibition of the exportation of corn is a mode of preventing corn from being brought into this country. (Loud cheers.) We are of opinion that an importing merchant, if he have security that he can bring in his corn here for consumption, or take it to another market, will be likely to bring it here in preference; but if he is to be told that his corn once arrived on our shores is not to be exported again, he will be rather induced to avoid a market where his grain will be locked up in this manner, and to send his produce to some other market where there may be greater freedom of commercial transactions. 1 was not prepared for the question ; but I have felt myself called upon to state the views of the Government upon a point which certainly cannot be regarded otherwise than as highly important, and to declare that we are opposed to any such inter- ference as the honourable gentleman alludes to." (Cheers.) The business in the House of Lords was slight and irregular. The Earl of Ittroar presented a petition from the Oxford and Birmingham Railway Company, complaining that 38,000 out of 50,000 twenty-pound shares in their line had been bought up by the North-western Company, at a premium of 11/, per share, in order to defeat the project of a competing line to Bir- mingham, by swamping the votes at meetings of the shareholders. The further discussion of the subject was postponed till Tuesday next; Lord LicarratuRar giving notice of a motion that the petition be referred to a Select Committee.

Lord BROUGHAM presented a petition from Bradford, complaining of au immense influx of Irish paupers, who had received 2s. 6d. a piece to come over, from the Irish landlords. The Earl of DEVON did not believe that there was a word of truth in that statement Lord BROUGHAM took great offence at this contradiction, and poured forth reproaches against Lord De- von with excessive vehemence. There was a brief altercation between the Peers on the point of order, and much uproar; which was borne down by the torrent of Lord Brougham's eloquence; until that again was checked by the dead silence of the House, and the conversation subsided to a quieter tone.

Viscount STRANGFento asked for information as to the state of the dis- pute between the Courts of Hanover and St. James's about the Crown jewels. The Marquis of LANsoowim glanced at the progress of the liti- gation, which is still undecided; no reply having yet been received to the last proposition made on this side.