Mr. S. Bourne
entered into a short history of the Law of Settlement, of the various changes that had been made in that law, and of its present state; and, observing that, in consequence of doubts that existed in the minds of many persons, and, among the rest, of a learned judge on a recent occasion, with respect to the construction of certain parts of that law, it was desirable that such an alteration in the law should take place as might remove all doubt upon the subject, moved for leave to bring in a bill "for alteration of the Law of Settlements, in so far as regards renting of tenements, and being assessed to the poor-rates.".
§ Mr. Curteis
approved of the principle of the bill, but wished that some securities should be introduced against persons: returning from sea after long absences, obtaining settlements.
was for a mixed calcula- 1139 tion of property and rating as the claim to settlements. To adhere to the latter exclusively would be productive of considerable injustice: for many a person who had 10l. in property would be deprived of a settlement, unless his property had been rated at a similar sum.
§ Mr. Sykes
concurred in the principle of not adopting value as the criterion of settlement. The frauds to which the former course was opened were notorious; for upon any occasion three or four witnesses could be got to swear to property, whereas the evidence as to rating could be derived only from the parish books. He was friendly to any arrangement which would go to diminish the number of settlements.
recommended the repeal of all the present laws relating to settlement, and making birth the only claim to that provision.
preferred rating to value, as the more simple of the two criterion?. The facility of producing the parish books in evidence of rating, was at all times preferable to oral evidence of the value of property.
Mr. S. Bourne
said, that one of his objects was, to render the parochial charges less burthensome. He had once attempted to establish the law on what he considered an equitable principle—a certain residence; but he had found it necessary to abandon if. He had formerly also desired to facilitate the acquisition of settlements. The observation, however, that the labouring residents in any parish who were not entitled to a settlement in that parish, were in general the most industrious and the best conducted, had induced him to change his opinion. He should be glad to ascertain, as extensively as possible, the general sentiments of the country, with respect to the objects of the bill for which he had just moved; and therefore after it was brought in, and the blanks were filled up in the committee, he should refrain from any further proceeding upon it until after the recess; in order that the details of the measure might be discussed at the quarter-sessions throughout the country.
§ Leave was given to bring in the bill.