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Unpopularity of the New Poor-law-Means taken to inflame the
people against il-Opinion of the Educated Classes in favour of the Measure-Lord John Russell obtains a Seleet Committee to enquire into the operation of the Poor-law--Mr. Fielden's Motion for a Repeal of the New Law-Discussion on the Subject--Mr. Harvey moves the previous Question, which is negatived, as well as the Original Motion-Bishop of Exeter presents a Petition to the House of Lords, relative to the “ Dudley Dietary "-Discussion on the subject-Lord Radnor's Speech and Calculations—Report of the Poorlaw Commissioners-Their indisposition to relax the rigour of the System, and their Reasons-Migration from the Southern Counties to the Northern-Results of the Severe Winter-Progress of the New System-Inconveniences from the Unions Incorporated under “Gil. bert's Act”-Mr. Tufnell's Report for Kent and East Susser-Decrease of Beer-shops— Distress of Hop-growers-Cases of Faversham and Queenborough-Labourers Balls--System pursued by the Unions in Kent during the winter-Saving's Banks and Benefit Societies—Mr. Steven's Report-Mr. Fielden's Motion relative to the Hand-loom Weavers - Combinations of Workmen-Remarks on Trades-unions General details of these Associatious - Inaugural CeremoniesTyranny-Prohibit task-work- Connected with High wages and times of Prosperity-Trial of the Glasgow-cotton spinners - The two Indictments-Convicted on the Minor Charges-Lord Brougham and Mr. Wakley bring the matter before Parliament -Mr. Wakley moves for a Committee- Mr. O'Connell's Speech and account of the Combinations in Ireland—His Amendment - The Chancellor of the Exchequer's Amendment – Committee Appointed - Factory ChildrenRemarks upon the Question - Lord Ashley-His New Bill— Opposed by Ministers-Sir R. Peel's Speech-Bill lost - Lord Ashley's Resolution on the Subject — Lord John Russell's Speech-Mr. HumeResolution lost-Beer Bill-Lord Brougham's proposed alteration of the Law regulating the Sale of Beer-Duke of Wellington admits that the System introduced by him is a failure-Lord F. Egerton brings the subject before the House of Commons-The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Hume, Mr. Warburton, Mr. Hawes, and Mr. Wallace defend the present System—Mr. Pakington, Lord Dungannon, Mr. Darby, and Mr. Brotherlon condemn it – Mr. Aglionby and Mr. Parrott declare against any change-Report of the Pension-list Committee.
posed to a severe trial, in the to, upon such occasions, stopped year 1837-8. The distress attendant to question the fictions, or to sift upon a winter of uncommon in- the exaggerations which were as clemency, was aggravated by the industriously circulated as they high price of corn, and by the de- were greedily received; few thought pression of the manufacturing and of considering whether the alleged trading interests. And it appears sufferings of the poor were exclualso from the report to which we sively produced by a particular shall presently advert, that in system, rather than incidental to some parts of the country, local the universal condition of society, and temporary causes unfavourable as it now exists. The enormous to the labourer were in operation. abuses of the old order of things Under these circumstances the re- were either forgotten, or unknown, sistance, which the persons com- and the great moral results, at missioned to enforce the law had which the advocates of the new to encounter, tras becoming pro- law, are steadily aiming, were of gressively formidable. The vio- course unintelligible to the many. lation of vested rights which, it At the same time, as we have was contended, the measure involved, no less than the hardships which it inflicted, was a theme, on which the promoters of law demagogues. A certain rev. Mr. agitation expatiated in language spoke in the following strain-“If this which it is needless to characterize, bill were established it should be eye but which found too ready an for an eye, tooth for tooth, wife for wife, echo among the masses to whom child for child, man for man, and blood it was addressed. In the northern for blood.” At Stockport on the 6th
of February 1838 the same reverend parts of the country, more parti- person related the following story: A cularly, these appeals to the man, whom he had never seen before, passions of the exasperated popu
had come to bim from an agricultural lace were answered' by violence district, and told him that he was seekand outrage, and a new field for ing for work, but that he would not be
separated from his wife, and that he sedition was opened for dema- had a knife ready for any guardian who gogues, who sinking all ordinary should attempt to part his wife and party topics, avowed no other himself
. At Rochdale the same indidesign than the abolition of the vidual said, “If it were right to confisnew Poor-law. For that object rogating the 43rd of Elizabeth, it would
cate the property of the people, by abthey invited the co-operation alike, be right for the poor to take a dagger of Whigs, Tories, and Radicals.“ in one band, and a torch in the other,
and do the best for themselves."
Mr. Oastler and Mr. Feargus O'ConThe following are specimens of the nor were in the habit of addressing sie eloquence employed by the anti-poor milar language to the populace.
already remarked, the benefits of Committee should have made its the alteration were becoming more report. The inexpediency of disand more perceptible; and of the turbing the main principles of the educated classes, there were few, bill, seemed also to be generally who did not recognize the justice admitted, and the question between of, at least, the principle of the them rather was, how far, conbill. Among the clergy in par- sistently with the maintenance of ticular there had originally existed those principles, any considerable a feeling unfavourable to the mea. relaxation of the apparent severity sure ; but the commissioners now of some of the provisions of the inform us that they are rapidly act could be introduced. gaining adherents from among
Sir Robert Peel, in particular, that body, whose situation and bore testimony to the merits of the experience must give an indisput- bill, remarking, that on the whole, able authority to their opinions on he was bound to say, considering any subject connected with the the magnitude of the experiment, situation and interests of the povr.
which had been but four years The sentiments which prevailed under trial, that it was as satisin Parliament will be gathered factory as any man could expect. from the brief account, which we The sense of the House was sutiare about to give of what took ciently declared by the divisions place upon the subject. So early which followed. The first took as the 27th of November 1837, place on the “ previous question," Lord John Russell obtained a which was moved by Mr. Harvey, select Committee to enquire into and negatived by 321, to 13. The the operation of the new law. But House then divided on the question this afforded little satisfaction to that leave be given to bring in the the opponents of the measure, and bill-Ayes 17: Noes 309: MaMr. Fielden, (member for Old- jority 292. ham) moved, on the 20th of Feb- On the 12th of March, the ruary, for a repeal of the Act Bishop of Exeter presented a peitself. He was seconded by Mr. tition to the House of Lords from Wakley; but as the speeches of the Guardians of the Dudley these gentlemen consisted of little Union, complaining that the diet but ex parle statements of particu. prescribed by the Poor-law Comlar grievances, collected from all missioners was not adequate to the quarters, and supported by no proper support of the paupers. sufficient evidence, they do not
We subjoin the “dietary table," require to be particularly noticed. the subject of the petition, as read In the course of the evening a dis- by the right reverend Prelate.* cussion ensued, in which Lord Howick, Mr. Liddell, Mr. Clay, Mr. Darby, Lord John Russell,
• "Dudley Union diet table for able. and Sir Robert Peel, took part.
bodied male paupers These gentlemen concurred in the "On three days of every week-Qloz. general impolicy of taking any bread, 3} oz. cheese, and I pint of steps in the question, until the
gruel per diem.
“On one other day-20oz. bread, 1 oz. cheese, 1) pint of soup, and 1}
pint of gruel. • Vol. lxxix, 241,
“Ou two other days—50% cooked
After some desultory remarks to the dietary table of the esfrom Lords Brougham, Melbourne, tablishment at that place, the and Winchelsea ; Lord Radnor female paupers received twenty came to the point by remarking per cent. more solid food, than that the best way to arrive at an had been sufficient for Captain opinion on the subject, would be Parry and his men on the Arctic to compare the food obtained by expedition. an able bodied labourer, when in In the House of Lords, however, work, with that furnished in the Lord Stanhope was the principal workhouse. He calculated ac- declaimer against the new order of cordingly, that the family of an things, and a motion of his lordagricultural labourer in Berkshire ship's, on the 20th of March, gave would subsist on 114 ounces of Lord Brougham an opportunity of solid food, per week, whilst a si• delivering a most convincing and milar family in the workhouse argumentative speech upon the would get 137 ounces. From subject. The learned lord, on another stateinent he had in his this occasion, thoroughly sifted the possession, he computed a difference question, and stripped it of the in favour of the paupers in Dudley fallacies, the exaggerations, and work house of Bilb. 11 oz. weekly. the misapprehensions with which it Captain Parry's crew at the North is beset. The subject, from time to Pole, also received and consumed a time came before either House of less amount of solid food per man, Parliament; and, it is probable, by 23oz. ; not to mention 4lbs. that the discussions which there of potatoes allowed to the pari- took place, as well as the agitation pers at Dadley. Nay, according of the subject out of doors, may
have a salutary effect in superinducing a careful revision of the
system, and a mitigation, for the meat, llb. potatoes or other vegetables,
present, of some of its apparently 14oz of bread, 1 oz. cheese, and 14 pint
harsher features. of gruel.
But, upon this head the Com** On one other day 4oz. bacon, llb. missioners themselves are very repotatoes or other vegetables, 14oz. of luctant to make any concessions. bread, 1 oz. cbeese, and 11 pint of gruel."
According to their experience, The City of London Union diet table, very small infractions of principle was placed in juxta-position with the open the door to practices which above document, and exhibited a far at once render nugatory all their more liberal scale, giving 7oz. of meat, schemes for elevating the condition on three days of the weck, on three other days, instead of meat,'1', pint of of the labouring poor. In their good soup, besides a handsome allow- report, which is dated the 4th of apce of beer, bread and vegetables. August, 1838, they advert to the
The ordinary diet table of St. Georges principal modifications which, it Jospital gives :
Breakfast : 1 pint of ten, pint of had been suggested, should be milk.
made the subject of experiment, "Dinner : 60z. roasted meat (weighed and the following is the substance with the bone before it is dressed) of their statement, and , a pogod of potatoes.
The expediency of relaxing, in “Supper; 1 pint of gruel, and pint of milk, 12oz. of bread, and I pint of beer certain cases, and under special daily."
circumstances, the regulation which prohibits the giving of out-door re- cessary services during the more lief to able-bodied male paupers had, active periods of the year.” independently of the peculiar pres- The report then proceeds to sure of last winter, been the sub- notice other particulars of the ject of their careful consideration. system. Several relaxations had been pro- With respect to the migration posed.
of families from the southern to 1. It had been suggested, that the northern counties, the commisit might be advisable to authorise sioners state, that by reason of the the guardians to relieve the fa- embarrassments in the manufac- , milies of labourers by taking one or turing districts, and the general more of their children into the commercial depression, it had not workhouse. But the objection to been carried on to a material exthis was, “ that in the practical tent since the date of their last application of this exception, it report. would be difficult to avoid the The number of those who, bav. establishment of a system simi- ing previously migrated, returned lar in principle to the scale-system, to their parishes, did not exceed i. e., a regular allowance, in addi- five per cent. upon the whole numtion to the labourer's earnings, ber of the “migrants," the far depending on the number of his greater proportion of whom had children, and the rate of wages.” attained“ circumstances of com
2. It had also been proposed to parative independence and comobviate the hardship of obliging a fort.” man to part with his cottage and The number of poor persons asfurniture, and take up his abode, sisted to emigrate abroad, by with his family, in the workhouse, means of parish funds, had not by admitting the head of the fa- been so large as in the year premily only into that establishment, ceding. The disturbances in North and leaving his family at home. America had the effect of diverting Their objection to this plan is stated to the Australian colonies the by the commissioners in the fol- course of whatever emigration did lowing terms:-" The small de- take place. With regard to the gree of inconvenience sustained by financial side of the question, they the labourer by a temporary so- computed that the new law had journ in the workhouse, whilst his already relieved the country from wife and family continue at home, a direct annual taxation of nearly ceases altogether to have the effect 2,300,0001. upon the employer which is pro- The report observes, that the duced by the strict workhouse sys- most important and characteristic tem, namely; the creating a great circumstance of the last twelve reluctance, on his part, to lose months had been the extreme se, temporarily the services of the la- verity of a very long winter, and bourer, lest he should find it im- the continuance of the interruption possible to regain them; and a to manufacturing industry, which desire, so to arrange the work of commenced in the year 1836-7. his farm, as to afford employ. Although, in various Unions, the ment, during the unfavourable part doubts of the guardians, and their of the season, to those upon whose apprehensions, that the workhouse assistance he must rely for the ne. would be filled, induced them to