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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. They are barely able to stand themselves, and cannot possibly bear another's burden. Under ordinary circumstances, every electoral division ought to be able to support its own poor, and with judicious legislation they will no doubt shortly be in a position to do so; but the present calamity places them far beyond the limits of ordinary circumstances. It is a national, an imperial calamity, which must be borne by each locality as far as its resources enable it, and the deficiency should be made up out of the imperial exchequer. If by a national rate it be meant, that the whole expense of supporting the poor should be paid out of the general taxation of the empire, like any other of the public burdens, it is evidently objectionable, as leading to the most profuse expenditure and wanton extravagance in the management, when freed from the check of local interests ; it would also be necessary that the poor of England and Scotland should be placed on the same footing. But if by the term, “a national rate,” it be meant that Ireland should be constituted into one large parish for poor-law purposes, what is this but to repeal the Union, by constituting a separation of interests on such an important point 2 Unless the Union be repealed, these are not three kingdoms, but one united empire, of which the various counties are constituent parts. Cork is as Yorkshire; Mayo, Caithness, and Lancashire are equally the objects of imperial care. If one suffer beyond its capability of endurance, it is entitled to assistance from the common fund to which all contribute; to the care of the central authority, which exists to promote the well-being of all. It is a question between the common government of the empire and the af. flicted county or province, not one between England and Galway, or Ireland and Lancashire. England may have been the richest and most powerful of the three separate kingdoms; but in consenting to a union, she waived her superiority, merged her individual existence, and placed her constituent counties on a level with those of Scotland and Ireland. To revive this claim of superiority, to speak of England in terms which are applicable only to the empire at large, is unwise, whether on the part of individuals or of the public press. It can only tend to create dissension between different parts of the same state, and to keep up those hostile feelings, which the sense of mutual dependence and a common interest would soon bury in oblivion. In this spirit the Government have acted, and the advances from the Treasury, the payment out of the national funds of half the expenditure on public works, have been a just and a generous conQ
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.
tribution towards meeting the present difficulty. The destitute have been, to a great extent, supported. They should not now be allowed to starve, because the district in which they live is bankrupt. The most strenuous exertions should be used to collect the poor-rates, undeterred by threats, and uninfluenced by favouritism ; but if the amount prove insufficient, the government must again be called on to assist. It would be highly injudicious to confiscate the property of the afflicted district, to ruin the present inhabitants, by insisting on too heavy a rate, and withholding all assistance, until, the whole population being reduced to pauperism, it became evident that there was no alternative but assistance or death. There is no propriety in looking to Kildare or Antrim to assist the poverty of Kerry or Donegal. They support their own poor, pay their own rates, contribute towards the general expenses of the empire by the payment of taxes, and are no more bound to support the destitution of the west of Ireland, than are the inhabitants of Norfolk or the citizens of London. If Manchester were in distress, her factories idle, her hard-working population unemployed, the poor-rate so high that even the wealth of Manchester was unable to bear the burden ; it would be utterly useless to apply to her neighbours, themselves suffering