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ploying them. When an owner of land cannot procure the latter, or wants the enterprise required for its proper application to the improvement of the estate, his only resource is to get rid of the people. The act passed last session contains a settlement clause, under which the expense incurred for the relief of a destitute person, is to be charged to the electoral division in which he resides, or has resided for thirty months out of the last three years. This is so far well. If the dispossessed tenant make immediate application for relief, the expense is fixed on the electoral division in which he so resided ; but if, in any manner, he be enabled to support himself in any other electoral division, for more than six months, the cost of relieving him must be charged to the union at large ; as in such case he will not have resided for thirty months out of the last three years in any one electoral division. In this case, therefore, the landlord who has ejected his tenantry escapes the expense, if they have removed to another electoral division ; but even if they should preserve their settlement in the electoral division in which they have heretofore resided, as long as these districts continue of their present great extent, the portion of the cost of maintaining the ejected tenants which
falls on their former landlord, must be so small, that it will have very little influence in preventing the clearance of estates. The subject is one of considerable difficulty. The English law of settlement has evidently interfered with the freedom of labour, and is liable to other grave objections. It may probably be simplified with advantage. The attention of Parliament has been given to it, and some alteration may be made before long. It is injurious to both countries, that a law of settlement should exist in one and not in the other. It creates many anomalies. It is certainly desirable that the poor-laws of England and Ireland should assimilate as much as practicable. If a residence for three years without receiving public relief conferred a settlement, would it not greatly simplify the arrangement, and be likely to work well ? The original settlement should not be lost, until a new one was obtained by settlement as above. Law-suits between parishes might be avoided by the appointment of official arbitrators, or by empowering the commissioners to decide all cases of difference, on a written statement or statements to be submitted to them by the parties concerned. The expense of removal might easily be prevented, by giving the district in which a pauper is relieved a right to claim a certain fixed allowance for his support, from the parish or electoral district in which he had a settlement. It is certainly unjust that any English parish should be burdened with the support of Irish destitution. Liverpool and some other of the western ports of Great Britain have suffered seriously from this cause. The only remedy provided is the power of removal, which is very expensive, and which inflicts an injury on the Irish port in which the paupers are landed ; as there is no power to compel them to remove from it, or to send them to their original homes. The power of sending back Irish paupers has in some cases proved very oppressive, but the Act 9 and 10 Vict, cap. 66, which, with other limitations, forbids removal from a parish in which a poor person has resided five years, has to some extent lessened this hardship for the future. Still, if an Irishman go over to Manchester, and marry an Englishwoman ; and, after supporting his family for four years by his industry, become a pauper, his wife and children, (none of whom perhaps have ever been out of Manchester) are liable to be shipped off along with him for some port in Ireland, as Irish paupers. Cases in some degree similar are of constant occurrence; and many removals have taken place, involving circumstances of very great hardship.”
* The Act 9 & 10 Vict. chap. 66, does not confer a settlement; it only renders a person irremoveable after five years residence in any one parish. If a native of Ireland support himself industriously for thirty years in Manchester, and then remove to Salford, he is no longer irremoveable, and if he falls into distress he may be sent back to Ireland. Suppose him to have been born in the county of Roscommon, he will be landed in Dublin, one hundred miles from his native place, and left without any further assistance, in money or otherwise, to find his way as he best can. If paupers are to be removed, they should be sent the whole way to the place in which they are entitled to support. Anything short of this is cruel towards them, and unjust towards the port in which they may be landed. The following extract from a speech of the Lord Mayor of Dublin, at the Board of Guardians of the North Dublin Union, may illustrate the above:– “He believed that the number of paupers which it had become “his duty to take care of in the city of Dublin now amounted to 3,500. “They were taken from different localities in England, put on board of “steamers, and landed in Dublin without a farthing in their pocket, or “a morsel of food. They belonged to all parts of Ireland, and the ques“tion was, what was to be done with them in Dublin. The fund which “he had hitherto applied to the relief of these persons, (which had been “left to him to use at his discretion) was now very nearly exhausted. “Some fund ought to exist here and elsewhere for the succour of these “persons; and he thought it was the duty of that Board of Guardians, “ and of other Boards, to ask for some alteration of the law with that “object in view.”—Saunders's News-Letter, Dec. 30th, 1847.
But objections have been made to localizing the assessment of rates upon small electoral divisions, or upon any locality less than a union, from the fear that many of these electoral divisions, becoming bankrupt, would be totally unable to support their poor, and that the Government would then be called on to bear the expense. This idea evidently occupied the minds of many English members of parliament, and they therefore supported union rating, expecting that they would thus compel the property of Ireland to support its poverty. If the facts and arguments already given are correct, they would be much disappointed in this expectation. Instead of union-rating having this effect, it would probably result, in many cases, in reducing the whole union to the same state of bankruptcy as the electoral division. If electoral division rating be maintained, there are many districts in the extreme west which will be able to meet the necessary expenses; but with union rating, it is hard to conceive what means exist to save from pauperization, almost every union on the west coast of Ireland, from Donegal to Cork; in which case, the imperial exchequer would be burdened to an enormous amount. It is indeed too evident, that there are several electoral divisions in the western parts of Ireland, which, under present circumstances, are totally unable to support the poor within their bounds. They must receive assistance from some quarter, and the question is, from whom are they to receive it. It has been proposed to assess the union for a rate-in-aid, or to meet the difficulty by a national rate. The remarks on union-rating in general apply also to a union rate-in-aid. It would be calling on those who are on the verge of ruin, to support their neighbours who are utterly ruined.