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to enable the overseers of the poor to assist those whom they should think deserving, without rendering them liable to be removed.

Mr. Estcourt said, it was asserted that the bill would do no good, as all those who were liable to be removed, were already sent back to their own parishes, but it ought to be recollected, that many parishes were so liberal as not to act up to their powers; and that many who had hitherto been able to subsist without relief from the parish might, before the ensuing harvest be reduced to that necessity.

Mr. Buxton said, that the bill went to set aside the law of settlements which had existed from Elizabeth to the present time, under which we had lived happily, and the dissolution of which would be attended with infinite confusion and innumerable law suits. The bill was particularly oppressive upon artificers, mechanics, the order of farmers, and the landed interest in general; the small inconveniences it would remove would be more than counterbalanced by the evils it would occasion.

Mr. I. H. Browne did not see the bill in the light of a compulsory one; since it went only to permit a temporary relief,

Sir. W. Pulteney thought the bill unnecessary, and highly dangerous; inas, much as it tended to encourage idleness, dissipation, and want of economy.

Lord Sheffield said, that the tendency of the bill was, to increase and enforce a spirit of exclusion in the several parishes. At present a spirited relief at an enorm ous expense was afforded to the poor, which would be checked by this bill. The whole system in their favour would be deranged by it. His only satisfaction was, that, if it did pass, it would be perfectly nugatory; it might take place partially, and do much mischief.

Mr. Hobhouse said, that if the bill was voluntary, it would be altogether nugatory; for who could suppose that any pa rishes would take upon themselves the maintenance of the poor belonging to another parish? If it was compulsory, it would be highly mischievous.

Mr. Baker said, he did not mean that the bill should be in the least degree compulsory.

The House divided:

Mr. Baker

YEAS {Mr. Estcourt

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NOES Mr. Crewe

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Mr. Pitt said, that the bill by no means affected the general law of settlements. It was not proposed to extend the provisions of it to the old, the infirm, and the idle; but merely to those who, from the present high price of bread, were unable to live upon their wages. Whether was it most humane, that they should be allowed to remain where their friends and relations resided, or that they should be sent to a place, where they must be without a home, and without a friend? Whether was it most expedient that they should be allowed to remain where they Mr. Ellison said, he was afraid the bill might assist to support themselves, and would occasion much abuse. The neces where they might be of use to the com- sity of the bill was not clear to him from munity; that they should be sent to a the general scarcity. The bill was a mixplace where they can find no employ-ture of obligation and volition. This ment, and must depend for their subsistence on the charity of their neigh bours?

Mr. Simeon said, that this bill, far from being of service to the poor, would tend to their oppression. It was also quite unnecessary, as, from its being so expensive to remove paupers, they would seldom be removed. It was extremely unjust to oblige a farmer to pay double, or perhaps ten times the poor rates he calculated upon paying when he took his farm. In great towns the act would be still more oppressive.

April 3. Mr. Baker moved the order of the day for the House to resolve itself into a committee on the bill. On the question, That the Speaker do now leave the chair,

might do much mischief. In one parish the overseers might act upon it, and in another they might not. The obvious tendency of this measure was, to increase insolence in the poor, and to check the bounty of those who were in superior conditions of life. He hoped the bill would never be passed into a law.

Mr. Simeon insisted, that the dread of removal, should they become chargeable, operated on the minds of the non-resident poor as a spur to superior industry; but, this inducement being taken away, there was reason to fear that the same indolence

less of their duty. If this bill was passed, those who were now frugal and industrious would become extravagant and idle. It would lay the foundation of the ruin of the middling tradesman, who found it difficult already to pay the poor-rates.

Mr. Buxton lamented the existence of the poor laws, and wished that every man could be compelled to support himself. This was the case in Scotland and in Ire land. He had no objection, however, as matters stood, that a man should be relieved in his own parish; but this bill instead of giving relief, would produce injury, by producing a general removal from the parishes where they now resided, to the parishes where they did not. His fear was, that in attempting to do good, it would occasion much evil.

would prevail among them as among the other class, and thus the parishioners would be subjected to a double expense. Mr. Pitt considered the principle of the bill to be humane, liberal, and politic. He was afraid, however, that one of its clauses would tend to diminish the effect intended to be produced by it; for he would not have one individual, whose industry and morals were unimpeachable, removed on account of his happening to be unable, from the extraordinary price of provisions, to support himself and family, Unless this bill passed, an indus trious man would be subject to be removed from a place where he was useful, to a place where not only he was useless, but where he would be a burthen; from a place where he wanted only temporary aid, to a place where he must be permanently supported; from a place which he had possibly contributed to enrich, to a place for which he had done nothing; from a place in which he might support himself again with credit, when this temporary pressure was over, to a place in which he must be a pauper for life; for this must be the effect, in many cases, where an industrious mechanic was removed from his connexions, separated from his habits, and placed among strangers who had no employment for him. Although this bill did not go far enough in some respects, yet, as far as it did go, he was a friend to


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So it passed in the negative; after which, the bill was put off for six months:

Sir W. Pulteney said, that the bill would unnerve the whole system of our poor laws. There was great danger in indulg. ing such a principle as this bill involved: it would hold out a premium to idleness, an invitation to extravagance; and the want of economy was often the chief cause of poverty among a people. It appeared, that those who had no settlement seldom wanted relief, and that the expense of supporting them was trifling; but those who had settlements in the parish in which they resided wanted relief to a great extent, and the expense of supporting them was very large. What did this prove, but that those who had settlements in the parishes where they lived wanted economy, and were, in many instances, profligate, and that those who had no settlement were frugal and industrious. Men who knew they could not command relief when they wanted it, would take care not to be reduced to the necessity of asking for it; whereas others, who Sir R. Hill said, that from a love of know they must be supported, were care-decency and decorum, and out of huina

Debate in the Commons on the Bill to prevent Bull-baiting.] April 2. Sir W. Pulteney said, that several gentlemen who had been witnesses to the inconveniences which the savage custom of Bull-baiting occasioned, had come up to town for the purpose of applying to parliament to put a stop to the evil. He was therefore now induced to move for leave to bring in a bill to prevent the practice. The reasons in favour of such a motion as this were obvious. The practice was cruel and inhuman; it drew together idle and disorderly persons; it drew also from their occupations many who ought to be earning subsistence for themselves and families; it created many disorderly and mischievous proceedings, and furnished examples of profligacy and cruelty. In short, it was a practice which ought to be put a stop to. He then moved, "That leave be given to bring in a bill for preventing the practice of Bull-baiting."

nity to the common people, he should second the motion.

Mr. Baker said, that the practice was certainly a very inhuman one, and occasioned many mischiefs; but bull-baiting was not the only practice to which these objections applied; cock-fighting was, in his opinion, equally objectionable. He hoped, therefore, that gentlemen would turn their thoughts to the suppression of this as well as the other practice.

Leave was given, and the bill was brought in and read a first time. It was read a second time and committed on the following day.

April 18. On the order of the day for taking the report into consideration,

Mr. Windham said :-Sir; I rise for the purpose of opposing the motion which has been made by the hon. baronet; and had I been present when this bill was in its former stages, I should have even then decidedly opposed it; for notwithstanding the gravity with which it was introduced, and the importance which seemed to be attached to it, I should certainly have thought it my duty to ask the House if they knew upon what it was that they were going to legislate. Let me now ask then what there is in bull-baiting which they have suddenly found to be so alarming. It is no new practice; it has existed more than a thousand years, without having been supposed to be pregnant with any of those crying evils that are now asscribed to it. Is it pretended that it "has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished?" I, for one, cannot think that it has increased, nor can I see any necessity whatever for the interference of the legislature in order to diminish it. In my whole life, indeed, I have never been present but at two bull-baitings, and they happened while I was a school-boy; but I cannot say that I experienced any bad effects from the gratification of my curiosity. I did not find myself the worse for it, nor could I suspect that the other spectators were contaminated by the spectacle.

Sir, there are some persons to whom a legislative measure like this may appear serious and important; but for my own part, I cannot but look upon it as proceeding from a busy and anxious disposition to legislate on matters in which the laws are already sufficient to prevent abuse-it at best only argues a pruritus leges ferendi, in the gratifying or opposing

of which I cannot but think my time, and more especially that of the House, is most miserably employed. This House ought only to legislate when an act of legislature is gravely and generally called for; and not merely to gratify petty, personal, and local motives, such as are infinitely beneath the deliberate dignity of parliament; especially in times like the present, when questions of vital importance are hourly pressing on our attention. Really, Sir, in turning from the great interests of this country and of Europe, to discuss with equal solemnity such measures as that which is now before us, the House appears to me to resemble Mr. Smirk, the auctioneer in the play, who could hold forth just as eloquently upon a ribbon as upon a Raphael. This petty, meddling, legislative spirit, cannot be productive of good: it serves only to multiply the laws, which are already too numerous, and to furnish mankind with additional means of vexing and harassing one another.

A great deal has lately been said respecting the state of the poor, and the hardships which they are suffering. But if they are really in the condition which is described, why should we set about to deprive them of the few enjoyments which are left to them? If we look back to the state of the common people in those countries with which our youthful studies make us acquainted, we find, that what with games, shows, festivals, and the institutions of their religion, their sources of amusement and relaxation were so numerous as to make them appear to have enjoyed a perpetual holiday. If we look to Catholic countries, it will also appear, partly, perhaps, from many festivals and ceremonies being adopted into their religion from the Pagan system, and afterwards so transformed as to incorporate with it, that they all enjoy many more amusements and a much longer time for relaxation than the poor in this country, who may say with justice, "Why interfere with the few sports that we have, while you leave to yourselves and the rich so great a variety? You have your carriages, your town-houses, and your countryhouses; your balls, your plays, your operas, your masquerades, your cardparties, your books, your dogs, and your horses to amuse you-On yourselves you lay no restraint-But from us you wish to take the little we have?"

In the south of France and in Spain, at

even boxing was cried down as an exercise of ferocity. It is time to resist these unnecessary restraints; for, if this bill should pass into a law, it would no doubt be followed by other regulations equally frivolous and vexatious. It is idle to declaim against savage manners or disposi tions in this country. The character of the people is directly the reverse; their sports are robust and hardy, but their tempers are not ferocious; nay, it is a fact, that there is not a people in the whole world that feel a greater horror at bloodshed. Compare them with the people of France or Italy, where all is suavity, sprightliness, and gaiety, and let us rejoice in the difference between the humanity of their characters. I will not say, whether certain principles, if suffered to operate, might not have produced sanguinary scenes here as well as in other places; but I can safely assert, that cruelty, or the thirst of blood, is not in the nature nor in the habits of Englishmen. On this subject, I may be permitted to make an allusion to an affray which lately took place in the Isle of Wight, in which some foreigners were engaged. Unfortunately, murder was the consequence of that scuffle, which, amongst Englishmen, would have terminated in a black eye or a bloody nose. So congenial is this principle of humanity to the hearts of our people, and so uniformly displayed in their actions, that it might imply the suspicion of effeminacy, if they had not so often given, on all occasions, such glorious testimonies of courage and prowess in another way. In war they are prodigal of their own blood; but after the shock of battle, or the fury of an assault, their first sentiment is always shown in mercy to the vanquished; and it is not unfair to attribute to their manly amusements much of that valour which is so conspicuous in their martial achievements by sea and land. Courage and humanity seem to grow out of their wholesome exercises.

the end of the day's labour, and in the cool of the evening's shade, the poor dance in mirthful festivity on the green, to the sound of the guitar. But in this country no such source of amusement presents itself. If they dance, it must be often in a marsh, or in the rain, for the pleasure of catching cold. But there is a substitute in this country, well known by the name of a Hop. We all know the alarm which the very word inspires, and the sound of the fiddle calls forth the magistrate to dissolve the meeting. Men bred in ignorance of the world, and having no opportunity of mixing in its scenes or observing its manners, may be much worse employed than in learning something of its customs from theatrical representations; but if a company of strolling players make their appearance in a village, they are hunted immediately from it as a nuisance, except, perhaps, there be a few people of greater wealth in the neighbourhood, whose wives and daughters patronize them. Then the labouring people must have recourse to the public-house, where, perhaps, they get into conversation, and politics become the subject. That this is an employment sufficiently mischievous I am willing enough to admit. What are they to do then? Go home and read their Bibles! This is, no doubt, very proper; but it would be well if the rich set them a little better example in this way. Whatever may be the habits of the more luxurious climates of the continent, the amusements of our people were always composed of athletic, manly, and hardy exercises, affording trials of their courage, conducive to their health, and to them objects of ambition and of glory. In the exercise of those sports they may, indeed, sometimes hurt themselves, but could never hurt the nation. If a set of poor men, for igorous recreation, prefer a game of cudgels, instead of interrupting them, it should be more our business to let them have fair play; for victory is here to them an object of as much glory as greater men could aim at in a superior sphere. These sports are, in my mind, as fair an object of emulation and of fame, as those in which the higher classes are so proud to indulge; and here I am ready to agree with the poet, that, in other circumstances, "He that the world subdued, had been "But the best wrestler on the green.' Some little time since it was thought matter of reproach for gentlemen to be present at any of these athletic trials; and

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Sir, having premised thus much, I next come to consider this case of bull-baiting in particular. The sport here, it must be confessed, is at the expense of an animal which is not by any means a party to the amusement; but it at the same time serves to cultivate the qualities of a certain species of dogs, which affords as much pleasure to their owners as greyhounds do to others; and why should the butcher be deprived of his amusement any more than the gentleman? That peculiar breed of

dogs, though now decreasing, and nearly extinct, has always been held in high estimation in this island. Gratian, who wrote as early as the age of Augustus, mentioned and described this animal, which, indeed, has always been so much a favourite, that many of our ships are called after its name. It is no small recommendation to bull-dogs, that they are so much in repute with the populace.

The advocates of this bill, Sir, proposed to abolish ball-baiting on the score of cruelty. It is strange enough that such an argument should be employed by a set of persons who have a most vexatious code of laws for the protection of their own amusements. I do not mean at present to condemn the game laws; but when gentlemen talk of cruelty, I must remind them, that it belongs as much to shooting, as to the sport of bull-baiting; nay more so, as it frequently happens, that where one bird is shot, a great many others go off much wounded. When, therefore, I hear humane gentlemen even make a boast of having wounded a number of birds in this way, it only affords me a further proof that savage sports do not make savage people. Has not the butcher as much right to demand the exercise of his sport, as the man of fortune to demand that of hunting? Is not the latter as painful to the horse, as the former to the bull? And do not gentlemen, for the empty fame of being in at the death, frequently goad and spur their horses to exertions greatly beyond their strength? Might not the butcher say, "I have no coaches, horses, balls, masquerades, nor even books, which afford so much delight to those in higher stations, and who have more leisure time; do not therefore deprive me of the amusement I feel in setting the propensities of one animal against those of another." The common people may ask with justice, why abolish bull-baiting, and protect hunting and shooting? What appearance must we make, if we, who have every source of amusement open to us, and yet follow these cruel sports, become rigid censors of the sports of the poor, and abolish them on account of their cruelty, when they are not more cruel than our own?

It may be said, that in bull-baiting the labouring poor throw away their money, and lose their time, which they ought to devote to labour, and that thus they themselves may become chargeable to the rich. But surely, if there be any set of men

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who ought to be left at liberty to dispose of their money as they choose, it ought to be the industrious labourers; and such men do not lose time by their amusements, but work harder and longer at other times, to make up for what time they may lose in relaxation, and to furnish them with additional money for the enjoyment of such recreations. I do not mean to speak against magistrates; on the contrary I am convinced of the value and importance of the services they render to the community, and of the general activity and propriety with which they discharge their duty: but I do think that many of them appear to act upon an opinion, that it is their duty at all times to control the common people in their amusements, like some to whom the care of children is committed, who think it right to deny them every thing which they seem eager to have or enjoy. They appear to act on the opinion, that the common people have nothing to do with any amusement; but ought only to eat, to sleep, and to work.

Upon the whole, Sir, there does not appear to me to be any real evil in the practice of bull-baiting; that it would be trifling to legislate upon such petty concerns, and that it is in the present case absurd, as the practice is already so much fallen into disuse, that it seems as if the bill had been brought in now lest it should be quite abolished before it could be passed. As to the cruelty of the practice, it is mere solemn mockery in gentlemen to talk of it, while they themselves indulge in sports equally cruel. In a bullbaiting, a hedge may be broken down, or a field of grass trodden down; but what is this compared to the injury done by a pack of hounds, followed by horses and their riders, sweeping over fields and hedges without distinction? Accidents to the lookers-on do sometimes happen at bull-baiting; but I am sure that I have known more fatal accidents than ever happened from bull-baiting, arise in the county of Norfolk alone (keeping out of the question those which have happened merely from the danger always attending the use of fire arms), by quarrels between the game-invaders and the game-preservers, some being killed on the spot, and others hanged afterwards for the murders. What then is the plea by which the bill is supported? It cannot be from sensibility and hatred of cruelty in those very gentlemen who in the game-season, as it has been justly said, become their own butchers and poulterers.

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