Debates anb flrottebings in Vartfantern. SANATORY REFORM.
On Tuesday, Lord lifoitra-ra moved for leave to bring in a bill for
im- proving the Health of Towns. He glanced at the progress of investigation on the subject of sanatory reform; beginning with the exertions of Mr. Chadwick, Dr. Southwood Smith, Dr. Arnott, and Dr. Kay. A share was taken in the movement, in 1839, by Lord John Russell; in 1840, by the Marquis of Normanby; in 1843, Sir Robert Peel issued a Commission, which reported in the following year; and in 1845, Lord Lincoln intro- duced a bill. The credit of contributing to the progress of the measure, therefore, had been shared by successive Governments and by different parties in the state; and he was only a gleaner from their stores.
He stated some general facts upon which the measure was founded—the past statistics of the subject; showing the comparative mortality of town and country, of healthy and unhealthy districts. "Now, all men who have paid any attention to this subject agree in the opinion that, by proper sanatory measures, it is possible to insure such a state of health among the community at large that the mortality shall not exceed that proportion. If the sanatory state of the entire country could be raised to the condition of the most healthy counties, so that instead of one death in 46 inhabitants there should be only one death in 54, we should have an annual saving of 49,349 lives, or about one-seventh of the whole number of deaths!"
To show the importance of drainage, Dr. Southwood Smith says—" In every district in which fever returns frequently and prevails extensively, there is um- formly bad sewerage, a bad supply of water, a bad supply of scavengers, and a consequent accumulation of filth; and I have observed this to be so uniformly and generally the case, that I have been accustomed to express the fact in this way: if you trace down the fever districts on a map, and then compare that map with the map of the Commissioners of Sewers, you will find, that wherever the Commissioners of Sewers have-not been, there fever is prevalent; and, on the con- trary wherever they have been, there fever is comparatively absent. Some idea may be formed of the evils which our negligence in the matter of sewerage and drainage inflicts, when I tell you that the annual deaths from typhus fever amount to 16 000, and the attacks of this loathesome disease to between 150,000 and 200,000.4 Further still, Dr. Lyon Playfair calculates, that for every.unne- cessary death there are 28 cases of unnecessary sickness; consequently, in our large towns, above 700,000 eases of unnecessary sickness. The same calculation in the Metropolis would save 10,000 deaths, and 250,000 cases of unnecessary sickness.
He read further details of a similar kind from the often-quoted report of the Registrar-General for the quarter ending on the 30th September last. It would be a waste of words to show the necessity of interference by the State. Then came the question, through what agency the State should interfere--
Lord Lincoln's bill for that purpose made use of the Secretary for the Home Department, with occasional assistance from the Privy Council. But the Com- mittee of the Metropolitan Health of Towns Association remonstrated against that machinery; because the Home Secretary. is already overburdened with du- ties. It was now thought the business was important and copious enough for the establishment of a special Board, framed on the same footing as the Railway Board of last session. It would consist of five members; three of whom would be paid members, one a member of the Government, who would not be a paid member, and the other the First Commissioner of Woods and Forests, who would be or officio Chairman of the Board. This Board„which would be called the Board of Health and Public Works, would be empowered, either on the petition of any town or without such petition, to direct an inquiry to be made into the sanatory condition of such town or district. They would be empowered to ap- point Inspectors, or recommend them to the town in question; who would down to the district and institute the necessary inquiries; they would make a s cient and adequate survey, point out the direction of rivers, streams, and water- courses, suitable for assisting in the drainage, and define the proper area of any works to be carried on. The Board, if necessary, would consider the reports of these Inspectors, and the objections made to them; and they would then recom- mend that an order in Council should issue, conferring the necessary powers upon some local administrative body. The powers exercised by the Commissioners of Sewers are insufficient for the purposes of the bill. Lord Lincoln's bill created local elective bodies; but upon consideration it appeared that those bodies would be elected very mach by the same constituencies as those which elect the Town-Councils. When the Muniei- pal Corporation Act was passed, the powers previously possessed by Commis- sioners of Sewers, &c. were not transferred to the new Town-Councils; but the party-spirit by which those bodies have been divided has in a great degree sub- sided, and to them would be intrusted the functions of the bill. The only diffi- culty was in the annexation to existing wards of bits of suburbs and offshoots of land suitable for the area of drainage which were not at present included in the municipal boundaries. But the present bill proposed to take these bits of land, and either annex them to the wards contiguous, or make new wards of them when necessary. In places where Town-Councils do not exist, Commissioners will be elected by the rate-payers; and the Crown, on the recommendation of the Board of Health and Public Works, should nominate as adjuncts a number not exceed- ing one third of those appointed by popular election. The bill did not apply to Ireland and Scotland— He admitted that the evils which thepresent bill was intended to remedy were still more crying in those two portions of the kingdom • but he knew from experi- ence that it was to the last degree complicated and perplexing, unless in scme very general measure, to deal with all three countries in the same parchment. He
*lived that his right honourable friends connected more especially with Ireland and Scotland would give their best attention to the construction and to the work- ing of this bill; and that they would afterwards, furnished with the facts of the experience of England, adapt the present bill to those countries in-the way they might think most expedient.
The Metropolis had been excluded from the operation of Lord Lincoln's bill; but it was proposed to include it in the present bill— The whole surface of London was now under the control of several distinct boards of Commissioners of Sewers. He believed there were no fewer than seven, who exercised their powers in an irresponsible manner. Some of them were com- plained of for the expensive and inefficient manner in which they discharged their duties, while others gave more satisfaction. On an order in Council being issued after the passing of this act, all existing Commissioners of Sewers would be su- perseded in the discharge of their function& The rate-payers in these bletropo- tan districts would be empowered to elect, as their representatives, Commission- ers for sanatory purposes, and the Crown would have the nomination of one third 'the number so elected. It would be desirable to make the Metropolitan Commis- -eioners more numerous than .those of other places; and the Crown would have a proportionately larger choice to make of persons fitted by their knowledge, science, sad philanthropy, to aid the deliberations of these beards. He had adopted and embodied in the present bill all the suggestions con- veyed in the following passage from the report of the Health of Towns -Commissioners- " We recommend that the management of the drainage of the entire area, as de- fined for each district, be placed under the jurisdiction of one body. We there- lore recommend, that the construction of sewers, branch sewers, and house-drains, be intrusted to the local administrative body : that the whole of the paving, and the construction of the surface of all streets, courts, and alleys be placed under the management of the same authority as the drainage, and that the limits of 'nrisdiction for both purposes, wherever practicable, be coextensive: that the pro- visions in local acts vesting the right to all dust, ashes, and street refuse, in the .,oval administrative body, be made general, and that the clearing of all privies and cesspools, at proper times and under due notioe, be exclusively intrusted to it. With the view of insuring a sufficient supply and proper distribution of water to All classes, we recommend that it be rendered imperative on the local administra- tive body charged with the management of, the sewerage and drainage to procure a supply of water in sufficient quantities, not only for the domestic wants of the inhabitants, but also for cleansing the streets, scouring the sewers and drains, and the extinction of fire. For this purpose we recommend that the said body have power to contract with companies or other parties, or make other necessary ar- rangements."
In some districts tracts of country might be necessary to secure an outfall for ,the drainage of the district; and the bill gave the necessary powers to carry out this object.
Provision would be made for debts incurred under present local acts, for exist- ing contracts, and for compensation to existing officers. In accordance with the report already quoted, it was proposed by this bill that an inspector should be appointed, whose duty it should be to inquire what had been done in the towns and districts he might be required to visit, to ascertain "that works were wanted, to examine or prepare plans and surveys, and to make reports to the Central Board. Besides this inspector-General, who, he supposed, would be an engineer of some eminence, it was proposed to, appoint a medical in- spector, who should in like manner be required to visit the districts placed under his charge. It had been deemed advisable-that this medical inspector should not be actually connected with any particular district, but that he should be disen- gaged from any local influence that might be brought to bear upon him. In addition to the engineering and medical inspectors, the Town-Councils and Com- missioners were to be empowered to appoint local surveyors, to be approved by the Central Board. These surveyors, he apprehended, would be civil engineers; and it would be their duty to superintend the contract works. The Town-Councils or Commissioners would also have the appointment of inspectors of nuisances; who would provide for the summary removal of all nuisances that might have an injurious effect upon the public health.
Provisions would also be incorporated in the bill for preventing the nuisance of smoke—not smoking. (A laugh.) It would be required that, in any building intended to hold great numbers of persons, due provision should be made for securing proper ventilation. Provisions would also be introduced into the bill enabling the Town-Councils or Commissioners to contract with gas companies, if they should think proper to do so, for the lighting of their respective towns and cities.
He would now refer to a subject to which be had before made a passing allu- sion—the importance of securing an ample supply of water. It would, he thought, be admitted on all hands, that a sufficient supply of water was an indis- pensable accompaniment—indeed, a condition—of all real drainage; and that the existence of drains, if they had not water to carry the refuse matter away from them, would only tend to propagate and increase th; evils which they were intended to remedy.
The use of tubular sewers, and a proper supply of water seemed now to be looked upon as indispensable to efficient drainage. He believed it would be gene- rally acknowledged that the supply of water in many places, including this me- tropolis, was both too scanty and too expensive. There was a great accumula- tion of argument and of evidence to show how desirable it was to have a constant rather than an intermittent supply of water. This bill would require that the Town-Councils and the Town Commissioners should supply water to every house; and for this purpose, they would be empowered to construct waterworks, to con- tract with water companies, and, if necessary, to compel the sale of waterworks, securing the full rate of their dividends to those companies from whom it was found necessary to purchase their works. Provision was also made that, in the case of permanent works being re- quired, where any unusual degree of expense would probably be incurred, power should be given to borrow money; and the principal and interest would be levied by a series of easy instalments, not upon the owner, but upon the occupier, who would be the person to benefit by the improvements. By this arrangement he hoped to remove the chief obstacle to the im- provement of towns, the immediate expense— There was something in the very sound of rates which was at fearful odds in the balance against health, industry, content, and all the virtues; but he feared that, in the first instance, some additional outlay must be incurred, if they hoped to do anything effectual in the way ofpromoting the improvement of the public health. It was a necessary tribute which property must pay for the safety and lives of the poor, and for those who earned their living by the sweat of their brow, but a tribute which he believed, in the long run, contributed in no slight degree to the health and enjoyment of those upon whom it was levied. Without relying too much upon calculations of the kind, there is reason to believe that the outlay will be compensated by the economy of better sanatory arrangements. Dr. Lyon Playfair estimates the annual loss from unnecessary death and sickness in Eng- land and Wales at 11,000,0001., and in the whole United Kingdom at 20,000,0001.; an estimate supported by local estimates which other persons have made. Mr. Guy points out the saving to be effected by using what now runs to waste. " In Flanders, where manure is carefully collected, instead of being, as here, suffered to run to waste, the excreta of an adult is valued at IL 19s.; considering the enormous additions made to this manure in our towns, it will not be thought un- reasonable to estimate the value of that part of the refuse which now runs to waste at 2L per head of the population; and supposing that in England or in Wales the towns which are guilty of this extravagance contain in all only 5,000,000 inhabitants, we shall have an annual waste of at least ten milliuus of money." Mr. Smith of Deanston estimates the clear revenue derivable from sewer-water Mall towns at 11. for each inhabitant. Dr. Arnott mentions that a portion of the drainage of Edinburgh has increased the value of the adjacent lands by 5,0001. a year; and that if the whole drainage of London could be saved, at a sufficient distance from the town, the value would exceed 500,0001. a year. Milan has benefited to a great extent by the adoption of such measures. Casp000b cannot be emptied by nightmen for less than 17s. a year; water-carriers get id. for a pailful of water delivered at the door; whereas a weekly addition of 2d to the rent will suffice for the expense of water-closets and of an unlimited supply of water for every house: the entire sanatory purposes contemplated by the Heath of Towns Commissioners may be attained for 3id. a week per house. In several instances, paving and draining had been followed by an immediate diminution of mortality. In the district of Ancoats was observed a diminution.ef 40 deaths out of 270, about 1 in 7. A striking illustration was contained in Mr. Liddle's evidence before the Health Commission. " Windmill Court, in Rose- mary Lane, was one of the most unhealthy in my district. It was unpaved and filthy, and with stagnant water before the houses. I used to visit it sometimes two or three times a day for fever cases. About twelve months ago, it was flagged; it was well supplied with water from a large cast-iron tank, whiob enables the inhabitants to have a constant supply, instead of an intermittent one on three days a week. The court is regularly washed down twice a week ; and the drains are so laid that all the water passes through the privy and carries off the soil, which was formerly a most foul nuisance, and a constant expense to the landlord. In the seven months ending March 1843, I attended 41 new cases if sickness in that court; in the last four or five months I have had but two came. The rent is better paid • and the landlord is considered to have made a good thing of the improvements; which are executed at his own expense. There is no doubt that sickness is the most common cause of the inability to. pay the rent." In conclusion, Lord Morpeth said that, no doubt, imperfections and oversights might be discovered in so comprehensive a measure: but it was honestly framed, and he claimed for it the consideration of Parliament; exhorting the House o
wage war wherever it could against filth and stenches, with their ammo', bodily weakness, langour, and death-dealing pestilence; and thus to leng the lives and add to the happiness of all classes.
Mr. MACKINNON seconded the motion, and eulogized the measure. But, regretting that it did not include any prohibition against interment towns, he asked whether a separate bill would be brought in for that pur pose?
Lord MORPETII replied, that the bill was considered by the Government large enough as it stood. The subject of intramural interments was, how- ever under consideration; and he hoped that a bill in respect to it would be ;nought in. Mr. ALtcuanuotc—" Within the present session? " Dbo reply.
Colonel Wool) also approved of the measure; but objected to the un- constitutional power conferred upon the Privy Council, of repealing local acts of Parliament.
The Earl of LINCOLN likewise spoke in general commendation of the bill; observing, however, that most of the provisions were those of his own bill. But he took some objection on points of detail---
He looked with jealousy to the proposition for paid Commissioners; and thought that, under the new modelling of the Poor-law Commission, the duties might have been transferred to it. He admired the courage, but deprecated the rash- ness, of Lord Morpeth in comprising London in his bill. He did not see why in unincorporated towns all the Commissioners should not be elected by the rate- payers, as well as in the incorporated towns. Approval of the measure was also expressed by Mr. .AGLIONBY, Sir WILLIAM CLAY, (who spoke with alarm, however, of the various "interests" concerned in the Metropolis,) Mr. BROTHERTON, and Mr. HUME. Mr. Hume paid no respect to the interests— Government should regard the interest of the many in dealing with the conflict ing and selfish associations that stood in the way of all these improvements. The object to be aimed at was not to establish a gas company or a water company for those who could afford to pay for such things, but to provide for the mass of the operative population those requisites to health of which they bad hitherto been deprived. Those who would be the real friends of the working classes must grapple with the difficulties that might be opposed to this measure, a measure which would be the truest economy if it contributed to keep the mass of the peo- ple in health.
Mr. GREEN suggested that the twenty local improvement bills before the House should be kept back to await the general measure.
Leave was given to bring in the bill.
POOR RELIEF IN IRELAND.
In the House of Commons, on Monday, Mr. SMITH O'BRIEN again called attention to the danger of suddenly withdrawing large numbers from the public works.
Mr. LABOUCHERE explained, that the rule was in force generally, but that it had been modified to suit the circumstances of particular districts— Upon the whole, considering the difficulty of the alteration, it had been effected throughout Ireland in the most satisfactory manner. Only in two places had there been the slightest disturbance. It was also to be observed, that the persona dismissed on the 20th of March were not entitled to be paid until the Tuesday or Wednesday following, and the payments which they were then to receive were to be the means of procuring subsistence for another week; so that they had ample time for procuring other employment.
The House having gone into Committee on the Poor Relief (Ireland) Bill, Mr. POULETT SCROPE moved the insertion of a clause enabling the Guardians of any house to purchase, hire, and occupy land annexed to the workhouse, to an extent ranging from twelve to one hundred acres— Cultivating tracts of land would be useful to able-bodied paupers, and eventu- ally beneficial to the country at large. Near Manchester, parts of Chatmoss been cultivated by able-bodied labourers, and are now worth 20s. an acre.
Colonel RAWDON commended the plan, as imparting those habits of la- bour which are so desirable in Ireland; while the expenses of workhouses would be lessened. The additional clause was also supported by Mr. SMITH O'BRIEN, Mr. SHARMAN CRAWFORD, Sir HENRY BARRON, and Colonel ROLLESTON.
Sir-GEORGE GREY said that Government refused their assent to the clause, because they believed that it would have the effect of increasing the pauperism of Ireland— To enable Guardians to employ farm labour, would be to allow an extensive system of out-door relief under another name. In-point of fact, there are very
few able-bodied paupers in workhouses. -
Lord JOHN RUSSELL described the mode of life belonging to the proposed plan—of marching out in the morning to work in the fields—as one that would be dangerously attractive.
The clause was opposed by Mr. SHAW and Mr. CURTBIS.
Sir WALTER JAMES deprecated the fallacy that the labour of panes
can be made profitable like that of the independent labourer; or that the Government can feed the people irrespectively of any effort on their part to feed themselves: but he suggested, that something more than twelve acres might be allowed as the limit for land attached to workhouses—say twelve to twenty-four—because industrial schools would be a useful dis- cipline for children in workhouses. Sir GEORGE GREY intimated that he bad no objection to consider that suggestion, at a future stage. Under these circumstances, Mr. PoiThErr ScROPE abstained from pres- sing his clause.
Mr. GREGORY proposed a clause authorizing payment of half the ex- penses of emigration, for any occupier of land rated at a nett annual value not exceeding 51. who may give up that land—
He would not go into the general question of emigration at present: he intended to bring on a motion upon this subject after Easter, when it would doubtless re- ceive the attention its importance deserved. With some verbal amendment the clause was agreed to, by the consent of Ministers.
Mr. GREGORY moved a clause—
Providing that no person holding more than a certain quantity of land should be deemed a " destitute poor person" under the provisions of this act, unless the Guardians should be satisfied that such person had absolutely given up any right or title he possessed to the occupation of any land above that extent.
He brought forward this clause with a view to prevent a large number of per sons from endeavouring to reconcile the avocations of pauper and of farmer; which he believed would very generally be the case if the bill remained in its present form. Originally he intended to fill up the blank with "half an acre"; Outlaying
i visited Ireland, and consulted many intelligent persons on the subject, he found that in the general opinion that limit was too extensive. He therefore proposed to fill up the blank with "a quarter of a statute acre."
Sir GEORGE GREY concurred in the clause—
One of the great evils of Ireland is the number of persons with small holdings, forming a class of destitute persons. It is an ascertained fact that a number of these persons apply for relief on the public works, and earn 6s. or 7s. a week, while the land which they hold remains untilled. It would be better, therefore, if it could be made a condition, before they received relief from the public, that their land should pass into other hands. He objected, however, to the immediate opera- tion of the clause; and proposed to make it prospective—after the 1st of Novem- ber, for instance.
Mr. NEWDEGATE pointed out the fact that the proposed clause is milder than the English law; which requires that a man receiving relief shall re- tain no property but his tools for the purposes of his trade. Mr. VILLIERS hoped that the clause would convert the class of small holders into a class of labourers. It was also supported by Mr. BELLEW, Mr. YOUNG, Mr. MORGAN Join O'Comemx, and Mr. ARCHBOLD. Its sudden effect was deprecated by Mr. PonaErr SCROPE. The clause was opposed by Mr. SHARMAN CRAWFORD and Mr. WIL- LIAMS. Colonel RAWDON objected to the rights of the pauper's descend- ants being taken away, by requiring him to part with the freehold of his piece of land. Alderman Hoxeiaritirr wished to substitute " five acres " for "a quarter of an acre."
Finally, the clause was adopted.
Mr. SMITH O'BRIEN proposed a clause to divide districts so as to pro- portion pauperism and the charge for relief. This was negatived without a division.
Mr. SMITH O'Biume moved a clause to provide that no union should contain more than 150,000 acres: at present there are unions of which some parts are thirty or thirty-five miles from the workhouse. This proposition opened the way for an elaborate statement by Lord GEORGE BENTINCK-
He objected to the extent of unions. There are 130 unions in Ireland: the average extent is 227 square miles; and the people have to go twenty-four miles there and back to ask for relief. The Ballina Union covers 792 square miles, and the workhouse is situated at one side of the union; so that going to it and back again a person might have to travel forty-six miles. He proposed that the ex- tent of unions in Ireland should be assimilated to the English scale, with a work- house in each union; and he contended that such a plan would save more than 4,000,0001. a year. He quoted figures largely to show that the whole outlay of establishing 400 new workhouses, capable of admitting 40,000 pauper families. would be only 800,0001.; which, spread over twenty-two years, principal and interest, would give an annual cost of 52,0001. per year. A staff of 550 persons would cost but 142,0001.; the expenses of the present relief measures being for a staff of 11,587 persons 1,193,0001. a year. The whole of the 2,200,000 per- sons at present supported might have been subsisted, clothed, and educated, for 8,823,7661., instead of the lavish expenditure of 13,143,5001. upon useless works. He therefore had shown, that by his scheme of erecting 400 new workhouses, they might have had 530 unions and 530 workhouses, instead of 130 unions and as many workhouses; which would not only have added to the comforts of the poor, and brought the workhouses within three miles and a half of every inmate of the union, and within the same distance of every Guardian to overlook them, and have thus brought all official persons under close and immediate supervision, but it would have saved, at the same time, no less a sum than 4,319,7361. in the course of a single year. They would also have had this security—they would have ceased to demoralize the peasantry who could get labour elsewhere; for they would not have consented to come into these workhouses; and none but the des- titute, the sick, and those incapable of getting work, would have entered them. The lives of thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, would have been saved. But that is the only point of secrecy with the Irish Government. " We can learn the number of bushels of potatoes and the quarters of wheat and of oats that have been thrown on the coast of Ireland; but there is one point upon which alone the Irish Government are totally ignorant—(" Oh, oh!")—totally care- less—(" Oh, oh!")---or else are determined to keep this country. in darkness; and that is, the mortality that has occurred during their maleadministration of Irish affairs. (Cheers and counter cheers.) Yes1 they shrink from telling us. (Cheers and cries of " Oh!") They are ashamed to tell us. (Renewed cheers and cries.) They know that the people have died by thousands; and I dare them to ask—I dare them to inquire what the numbers of the dead have been; dead through their mismanagement; dead chiefly through their principles of free trade (Bursts of laughter.) Yes, free trade with the lives of the Irish people— (",0h, oh!")—leaving the people to take care of themselves when Providence has swept the food from the face of the earth; leaving the people—in a country where there are neither mills, nor stores, nor granaries—to perish."
Mr. LemoncEEEE said, he was too anxious to proceed with the bill, to be tempted to discuss Lord George Bentinck's new panacea for the evils that afflict Ireland—
As to the assertion that Ministers were anxious to conceal the truth, he should content himself with giving that a contradiction as explicit, as direct, and as com- plete as his respect for the House would allow. (Loud and protracted cheering 'ram both sides of the House.) He apologized for having even for a moment de- tained the Committee from business in re I • to such a speech as that which 41S heard. (Much cheering.) hoped that henceforward the dia- cession would proceed, as it had for the most part done, without party feeling, and without inflammatory language. Mr. NEWDEGATE extenuated Lord George Bentinck's language on the score of warmth of argument.
Mr. Smith O'Brien's clause was put, and negatived without division.
Mr. SMITH O'BRIEN then proposed, seriatim, several clauses, which were negatived without division,—namely, for the permanent establishment of relief committees in each electoral division • for empowering relief com- mittees to determine who were to receive relief; for paying the workhouses by a national rate; for a uniform valuation of rateable property; for ren- dering jointures, rent-charges, and other annuities, rateable; and for put- ting orphans and deserted children out to nurse.
Sir GEORGE GREY inserted in the bill a clause to remove the restriction as to three months' residence being necessary before an allowance for emi- gration. Mr. MORGAN Jorai O'Coinema, moved a clause to provide a place of worship accessible to members of each religious denomination. This was adopted, with some amendment.
Lord GEORGE BENTINCK proposed two clauses: one to debar any occu- pier of rateable property from deducting the amount ',paid for rates from his rent; another extending the provisions in the Destitute Persons Act respecting the recovery of rates, to the present bill, in order to throw the burden of the poor-rates on the occupier—
The rackrent of Ireland is 17,000,0001.; its rated value is 13,000,0001.; it is mortgaged to the extent of 9,000,0001.; and therefore he did not exaggerate in saying, that when the Poor-law came into operation, the rate would be more than 20s. in the pound. It is necessary, therefore, to devise some plan for a vigilant watching of the expenditure, and to protect fandlords from unnecessary or lavish expenditure. Sir GEORGE GREY objected to throwing the whole burden on the occu- pier, until further experience should be obtained as to the working of the law. It is not correct to assume that the 800,000 persons now employed on public works would hereafter remain a permanent burden on the poor- rates.
The project of throwing the charge upon the occupiers was supported by Mr. &Law, Captain Minnie, Sir WILLIAM JOLLIFFE ; opposed by Mr. M. J. O'CONNELL, Mr. POULETT SCROPE, and Mr. SHARMAN CRAWFORD. On a division, the first of Lord George's clauses was negatived by 79 to 76; and he withdrew the other.
Mr. &taw moved additional clauses, with the view of placing the tithe- owner on the same footing as the landowner, by rating him upon his net income instead of his gross income.
The preamble of the bill was adopted; and the House resumed.
When the report was received on Wednesday, Sir GEORGE GREY moved the insertion of two provisions, which authorized relief to " destitute poor persons " deprivedof the means of earning subsistence by severe sickness or serious accident; also a similar provision for destitute widows with more than two legitimate children.
LANDLORD AND TENANT IN IRELAND.
In reply to Mr. SHARMAN CRAWFORD, on Monday, Lord JOHN Rim SELL said, that a measure respecting the relations subsisting between land- lord and tenant would be introduced after Easter. He could not, however, say that the Government were prepared with a measure; but if any delay should occur in its being introduced, Mr. Crawford would be perfectly itt liberty to go on with his own measure.
MORTALITY IN IRELAND.
On Monday, Lord GEORGE BENTINCK revived the subject of returns, stating the amount of mortality in Ireland. Mr. LABOUCHERE quoted a letter from Mr. Redington, showing that the returns desired would be impossible: the registration of deaths had not been kept with any regularity by the Protestant clergymen. It would only apply to churchyards, and not to open burial-grounds, the most com- mon cemeteries in Ireland; and there would be no means of enforcing com- pliance from Roman Catholic priests, nor, indeed, any reliance to be placed in such returns.
Lord Joint RUSSELL deprecated needless returns— The returns moved for by Members of that House occasioned a vast increase of labour in the public offices, both here and in Ireland. In Dublin, especially, there had never been known a pressure of business so severe as that which now unhap- pily prevailed in the offices connected with the Government. The clerks were often employed from five o'clock in the morning till eleven at night; and be hoped that when honourable Members asked for a great number of returns, comprising a great number of figures, they would bear in mind that the subordinate officers of the Government had already much more to get through than it was practicable for them to accomplish.
Mr. Poomery SCROPE having urged the necessity of a census to be taken by Relief Committees, Mr. LABOUCHERE said, that one of the earliest steps taken by the Relief Committees was to obtain lists of the poor in their re- spective districts.
On Wednesday, a conversation arose respecting the conduct of the Irish landlords. It was begun by Mr. GEORGE ALEXANDER HAMILTON. He cited a letter which he had received from Mr. Longfield, a landlord resident near Mallow, who had been attacked by Sir Benjamin Hall. Sir Benjamin had said that Mr. Longfield, out of an income of 6,0001. a year, gave only 151. as his subscription to the Relief Committee of Mallow. Mr. Longfield now stated in contradiction, that his property in the neighbourhood only returned him 4361. a year, and that he had given 301. to the Relief Com- mittee of Kanturk Union (Mallow). Mr. Longfield's whole income is not more than 3,0001. a year; and he has already subscribed 2501. for the relief of the poor in different Relief Committees of Ireland, besides his other exertions.
Mr. LEFROY added that Mr. Longfield is supplying 9,000 persons per week with soup, besides a great expenditure in clothes and other modes of relief. Another Irish landlord in Sligo, who has been dangerously ill from his anxiety and exertions, has employed 350 persons since last winter; he has a soup-shop, besides giving away a great deal at his own house ; sees that everything is done to insure the cultivation of the soil; and employs 54 women. A nobleman in Roscommon gave 5001. at an early period of the famine; has subscribed several sums of money to relief in Soup-Com- mittees; since the beginning of the calamity he has supplied his labotirers (200 or 300) with cocoa in the morning and soup at mid-day, in addition to their usual daily wages; soup to their families two or three times a week; has supplied more than 300 families with different articles of clothing and bed-clothes; and has given wheat and rye gratuitously to the extent of several hundred pounds' worth.
Mr. Poi:n.3117 SCROPE said that these charges were not new. The same Were made at the time of the cholera. In 1832 the landlords of Skibbe- reen were applied to: four only sent answers, and they contributed 111.5s.; their entire rental being 6,0001. a year. One landlord, who possessed 4,0001. a year, had not given a farthing, though his tenants participated in the fend. The total subscription, which was 471. 5s., came almost entirely from individuals resident in the towns.
Sir BENJAMIN HALL held in his hand two letters from reverend gentle- men connected with that part of the country, telling him that what he had said was quite true. A return for which he had moved would make all this clear.
A separate discussion was at the same time carried on respecting this return; Mr. YOUNG complaining that the terms of the order for it were Each as to produce an unfair return. It called for the amount of subscrip- tions and public grants compared: it would therefore show the ostentatious subscriber at an advantage as compared with many persons who exerted themselves in other ways. Sir GEORGE GREY justified the return, on the ground of precedent; it being usual to exact accounts of private subscrip- tions when public grants were made. The names of the subscribers might be withheld. Mr. LABOUCHERE undertook that the returns should not be laid on the table after the recess until Mr. Young should have had an op- portunity of making a statement in order to an alteration of the terms.
Mr. Fox Matrix having, on Tuesday, moved the order of the day for the Committee on the Army Service Bill, Sir HOWARD DOUGLAS moved that the bill be committed that day six months; repeating several objec- tions which he had expressed in a former debate against the measure. He made some practical suggestions,—that money should no longer be paid to the soldier as bounty, but given for the purchase of the kit; that enlistment should not take place in public-houses, but in the office of the recruiting-officer during business hours; that Government should restore the old pension of ls. a day for twenty-one years' service, which would do more good to the Army than any other measure. If these suggestions were not adopted, he should move amendments to the same effect in Committee. Sir Howard said that he had received letters from several soldiers: all of them complained of the smallness of the pensions, and some of them of the smallness of the bounties; some of them complained of the clothing, in the Infantry in particular, as being coarse; but not a single indi- vidual complained of unlimited service. He contended that the Army was never in a better state than it is now. There is a strong disposition to promote im- provement, and severe punishments are falling into disuse. Instances of officers rising from the ranks multiply. On these grounds he contended strongly against change.
Major LAYARD no less vigorously combated Sir Howard's arguments; which he thought weak and inconclusive—
One fact shows the fearful state of things in the Army—that among the deaths in the Cavalry the suicides are in the proportion of 1 in 20. He insisted that the measure proposed by Government would introduce a better class of men. As to Sir Howard's "experience," had he ever commanded a regiment of the line? had he -aver served in India or in the West Indies? In point of fact, men in Sir Howard's station are placed where they cannot see or hear what actually occurs among the men of the Army.
Mr. SIDNEY HERBERT spoke at some length; generally approving of the bill, but expressing doubts—
He admitted the evils of the present system, but suspected that they were ex- aggerated. He doubted the policy of conferring military habits on the people of the country. In other countries where that is the case, any street row, which might here be suppressed by Policeman B 21, is found difficult to overcome; for popular tumults are conducted by discharged soldiers. He doubted whether so short a term of service as ten years might not be inconvenient. But at all events, inducements to enter the Army ought to be proportionately increased; and he rather inclined to a former suggestion of his own, fixing the term of service at fourteen years instead of ten.
Mr. MAULS defended the measure—
The period of fourteen years would be injurious to the soldier, as it would, ter- minate just about that period of his life when commanding-officers would be dis- inclined to enlist the men. As to the danger of " martializing" the people, he thought it disproved by the conduct of the old soldiers in this country, and of the pensioners during the Canadian rebellion, every man of whom had proved loyal. It was the recruits, not the veterans, wlao contended at Waterloo. He quoted statistics of mortality to show that it is very desirable to keep the average age of the soldier between twenty-five and thirty-two. He admitted that the measure was an experiment; but so surrounded with good prospects that he did not hesi- tate to undertake the responsibility of suggesting it to Parliament.
The measure was supported by Colonel Woon and Sir DE LACY Evans.; opposed by Colonel REID.
After Mr. Maule's statement, Sir Howaxn DOUGLAS declined to divide the House. The House went into Committee pro forma; but immediately resumed.
The House went into Committee on the bill on Monday; and in the con- sideration of the separate clauses a few amendments were proposed. Sir HOWARD DOUGLAS moved to substitute fourteen for ten as the term of en- listment. This amendment was negatived, by 62 to 27.
Colonel WOOD moved an amendment to enable the soldier to reengage during the last year of his term before its actual expiry. Mr. MAULS thought it better to allow the soldier an opportunity of returning for an in- terval to his friends, so that he might attract recruits. The amendment was negatived without a division.
Major LAYARD moved a clause, enacting that any soldier already enlisted, who shall have served ten years in the Infantry or twelve in the Cavalry, and should give three calendar months' notice to his com- manding-officer, should be entitled to his discharge. Mr. MAULS insisted on the danger of carrying the experiment so far with the soldiers already enlisted before its working had been tried. The enactment, too, is supere- rogatory, as the Executive Government could apply the bill by royal war- rant to persons already enlisted. On that showing, the motion was with- drawn.
The whole of the clauses having been passed, the House resumed.
There was a brief conversation on the subject in the House of Lords on Monday. The Marquis of LONDONDERRY asked whether the bill had the sanction of the Commander-in-chief; whether any opinion had been taken by any Board of General Officers; and whether it was the intention to issue a warrant for increasing pensions to the scale of the limited enlist- ment plan of 1806,—namely, Is. 10d. a day to non-commissioned officers, and Is. to privates? Earl GREY declined to answer any questions respecting confidential com-
munications to the Crown; though in the present instance he might do so with perfect safety. It was not the intention of the Government to issue such a warrant as that mentioned.
Lord LONDONDERRY then moved for copies of all correspondence be- tween Government, the Commander-in-chief, and other General Officers, on the subject; also a copy of King George the Third's warrant of 1806.
He cited military authorities against limited enlistment: General William Na- pier has said that it takes three or four years to make an Infantry soldier; and as a Cavalry officer, the Marquis knew that it requires five or six to make a good Cavalry soldier; while it is still more difficult to train an• . The plan was plausible, but he thought perilous as an experiment. At the same time, if the Duke of Wellington were to state his opinion, such was the general confidence in him, that it would be submitted to.
Earl GREY declined to discuss a bill not before the House; and protested against any inference to be drawn from his silence. He objected to the production of the communications, but not to the copy of the warrant The bill was objected to by the Earl of CARDIGAN; among other reasons, because it would tend to introduce military habits among the people—
The House must recollect what occurred a few years since in a neighbouring country, where the troops of the then reigning Sovereign were beaten by the po- pulation of the chief city, and a change of dynasty was the consequence. Such an event could not have occurred in this country. How, then, did it happen in France? Because the whole population of that country was a military-popula- tion, practised in the use of fire-arms, and familiar with their sound.
The Marquis of LONDONDERRY withdrew the former part of his motion; and the latter part was affirmed.
CIVIL WAR IN SPAIN: THE PRETENDER.
In the House of Commons, on Monday, Mr. BORTHWICK quoted a very sanguinary proclamation issued by General Breton, the Commandant of Catalonia, threatening all rebels with the most stringent vigilance and the harshest measures. The 7th article will serve as a specimen of the whole-
" If any adult shall leave his home to join the ranks of the rebels, the Alcalde must give immediate information to the Commandant-General of the province; who shall order that the father and mother, guardians or relations, (in case they should have influenced the adult to the commission of this crime by their advice or otherwise,) be forthwith arrested and placed at the disposal of the Council of War. This tribunal shall try them, and inflict even the penalty of death if they be found to have deserved it.'
One thing only, Mr. Borthwick said, had prevented reciprocal barbari- ties—the forbearance of the people of Spain, devoted to him whom they believed and knew to be their legitimate King. And in contrast with the foregoing passage he cited " a proclamation, or rather a circular," dated from London on the 10th of March, and addressed by the Count de Monte- molin to all his friends. This proclamation, which is signed "By Royal orders, Mon," says-
" It has been brought to the knowledge of his Majesty, that the Government of Madrid proposes to adopt towards those who so heroically defend his just rights measures of extreme rigour, and even of atrocity,—to oblige his friends by such means to imitate, in reprisals, the brutal spirit of their adversaries, and so to bring discredit on his Majesty's cause Envious of the praiseworthy con- duct of those chiefs who have hastened to anticipate the campaign, they fear, and not without reason, the effects and the adhesions which, not only among the mass of the population, but even among their own troops, are produced by such perfect order and admirable moderation." [The Count, however, exhorts his friends to persevere in that praiseworthy coarse, and to leave for their enemies the monopoly of the guilt and opprobium which belongs to the opposite conduct.] "His Majes- ty's desire is, that his arms may shine with the lustre of true valour, which can never be separated from virtue and humanity; and that they should be employed against no enemies except those who oppose resistance in the field of battle. God preserve your Excellency many years," &c.
Further, Mr. Borthwick declared, that he whom the Spaniards loved as their King, if he were permitted once again to enter the gates of his king- dom from his exile, would enter it knowing no parties, but knowing only Spaniards; that, adopting the spirit of the time, and yet conserving all that was worthy of conservation in the institutions of his ancestors, he would promote the union, the prosperity, and the happiness of his country; and that in furtherance of these principles he would begin by banishing discord and advancing liberal views and institutions. Mr. Borthwick called upon Lord Palmerston to "look upon this picture and on that," and, without taking any dynastic view whatever, to pronounce in favour of humanity. Mr. Borthwick added, that since the issue of the proclamation, General Breton had been removed from the command; but it appeared from the Clamor de Madrid of the 15th of March, that his successor, General Pavia, had adopted the proclamation.
Lord PALMERSTON replied—
If the honourable gentleman wished to know the sentiments which her Majesty's Government entertained with respect to such an order as he had read, the honour- able gentlemen and every Member of the House had only to consult their own feelings to know with what disapprobation, disgust, and indignation, such a bar- barous proclamation must inspire the minds of the Government. (Cheers.) No doubt, the other document which the honourable gentleman had also read afforded a contrast highly honourable to the Prince whom the honourable gentleman con- sidered entitled to the throne of Spain, as far as the mo leration and humane principles embodied in that proclamation contrasted with the savage tone if the
other. The honourable gentleman had stated rightly that General Breton was no longer in the office he held when he issued that proclamation; and he had not been aware that General Pavia had adopted the proclamation: so far, however, as the influence of the British Government went, the honourable Member and the House might be assured that the object of any advice they might feel themselves com- pelled to give to the Spanish Government would be to impress upon that Govern- ment the necessity of acting upon humane and not upon b irbarous principles; and any advice they might give would be to that effect. The Durango decree could not be forgotten: in point of fact, atrocities had been committed on both sides; except that, when Don Carlos issued the decree of Durango, no corresponding decree was issued on the part of the officers of the Queen. Lord Palmerston admitted the moderation of the circular which had been read; but he could not help expressing the regret which he felt at the indication contained in that circular— That circular talked of act, and arms, and fields of battle, and elements of war; an indication that the Prince who issued it sought again to make his native country the scene of that discord which in his early proclamation he wished to prevent That circular seemed to mean this, if it meant anything—that they were again to expect that Spain would be the some of civil war, to be organized and carried on by the adherents of the party of which the Prince was chief. He should be most sorry if such a result was to take place; and, judging from the conduct which that Spanish Prince had pursued since he had been prominently before the public eye, he should say, that if that course were to be pursued by the friends of that Prince—if by the partisans of his family Spain were made the scene of civil war—such a course would not meet with his sanction and approbav tion. And.he should hope that any persons in this country who might have the Means of advising that illustrious individual would use their influence with him M restrain his.followers from again making Spain the scene of those calamities which desolated that country during the former period of the civil war. Sir DR LACY EVANS recounted the manner in which the Legion under his command had observed the Eliot convention, though exposed to the most cowardly attempts at assassination; for it was nothing better. Through the great care taken, however, only forty men were kidnapped dhring the whole course of two years. On one occasion one thousand men and one hundred officers fell into the hands of General Evans: he Had an opportunity to retaliate, but he abstained; and the consequence was, that the prisonsers addressed a letter to Don Carlos, deploring the atrocities that had been committed, and imploring him to change his line of conduct.
Lord Joust MANNERS was certain that Lord Palmerston's speech was listened to with great pleasure by every gentleman in that House; and that everything that had fallen from him would be received by Count de hiontemolin with the greatest possible consideration and weight. He trusted that it would have the effect of inducing General Pavia and every other general officer serving the Queen to act upon more humane principles. In reply to a question from Sir DE LACY EVANS, Lord PALMERSTON made a further declaration: it would be a great abuse of the hospitality which this country afforded to all foreigners, whatever might be their rank or title, who chose to reside here, to issue proclamations or publications intending to excite war in friendly foreign states.
BANKRUPTCY AND INSOLVENCY: Loan BROUGHAM. In the House of Lords, on Monday, Lord ASHBURTON presented a petition from the wholesale merchants and traders of the city of London, representing that the present state of the law of bankruptcy and insolvency created great injury, inasmuch as there was now no preventive of fraud, and praying that an amended code be substituted. Lord Ashburton added, that, after the holydays, he should introduce a bill on this subject, and move for a Select Committee, to whom the statements of the petitioners might be referred. Lord BROUGHAM said, that the petition demanded the most serious attention, and he rejoiced that there would be discussion on it. He had been charged in a Weekly newspaper with having changed his opinion on the laws of bankruptcy and insolvency: it had been insinuated that he was desirous of revising the act abolishing, in ordinary circumstances, imprisonment for debt. He begged to give the most direct contradiction to that statement. He was of precisely the same opinion now as before. He considered that they had done well in 1838 when they abolished the arrest on mesne process; and that they had legislated with equal wisdom when in 1844 they abolished arrest in execution and imprisonment for debt, except in cases where there had been fraud or the grossest extravagance.
THE POOR-LAW COMMISSIONERS. On Wednesday, Captain PECHELL asked whether it was the intention of the Government to supersede the present Poor- law Commissioners? Lord JoustRUSSELL said, it was intended to bring in a bill upon the subject; and the Secretary of State for the Home Department would, be believed, give notice respecting it after the recess.
FEMALE PROSTITUTION. In the Horse of Commons, on Tuesday, Mr. SPOONER moved fur leave to bring in a bill for the prevention of trading in fe- male seduction. Mr. CRAVEN BERKELEY rose to order. It was obvious that the statement on which Mr. Spooner must found his case for legislative interference would involve details which were unfit for publication; and therefore Mr. Berke- ley called the attention of the Speaker to the fact that there were strangers hi both of the galleries of the House. (Loud laughter.) The SPEAKER forthwith directed strangers to withdraw; which they did amidst renewed laughter. The Speaker's, strangers', reporters', and ladies galleries, were quickly cleared, and the debate proceeded with closed doors. Later in the evening, Mr. Spooner intro- duced his bill.
THE ROYAL ASSENT was given by Commission, on Tuesday, to the Drainage of Lands Bill, and several private bills.
THE RECESS. The House of Lords adjourned on Tuesday. In moving the adjournment, Earl GREY stated, that as it would be convenient to several Peers, and not injurious to public) business, the day for reassembling was fixed for Thurs- day the 15th, instead of Tuesday the 13th of April. After the recess, their Lord- ships would meet in the new building; "her Majesty having been graciously pleased to assign that portion of her Palace to the use of their Lordships." The House of Commons adjourned at the close of the usual sitting on Wednes- day, till Monday the 12th April.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE. Lord JOHN RUSSELL stated, that he should proceed with the Navy Estimates in Committee of Supply on the 12th; with the Miscellaneous Estimates on the following Monday. The Poor Relief Supervision (Ireland) Bill would be postponed till a future day; and on the Friday after the Recess, he should move the third reading of the Irish Poor-law Amendment Bill, and of the Landed Property (Ireland) Bill. In reply to Mr. TRELAWNEY, on Wednesday; Lord Joint RUSSELL stated that it was not the intention of Government to bring in any bill limited to the object of removing the disabilities of the Jews; but he wished to take further time to consider whether it would be possible during the present session to introduce a bill which might make some alterations which appeared to be rendered necessary by the sets of last session, and particularly in respect to the taking of oaths.
PROGRESS OF RAILWAY BILLS IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Sums READ A Finn. Tors. Tuesday, March 30.—Edinburgh-and-Northern (branch Atom Burntieland to Dunfermline branch, &c ) (No. 2.) Etas READ A Broom) TIME AND COMMITTED. Tuesday, March 30.—Coventry-Ban- bnry-and-Oxford Junction. Cbester-and-Holyhead (extension at Chester and Holyhead, he.) (No. 2.) Wednesday, March 31.—Caledonian (branches to Wilsonetown, to Fauldhouse, and to Biggar and Broughton). Caledonian (Edinburgh station and branches to Greaten and to the Edinburgh-and-Glasgow).