§ The Duke of Richmond
wished to call their Lordships' attention to that clause which allowed the guardians of unions under the Poor Law Amendment Act to appoint as district-registrars such officers as they should think fit, subject to the approval of the registrar-general. He did not mean to say the guardians would not appoint fit and proper persons; he believed they would appoint their best relieving officer, but without reference to the other important duties he had to perform. The relieving officers of the several districts had already the most arduous functions imposed on them; they were bound to go through the different parishes, to see that those who were relieved were proper persons, and really in indigent circumstances; they were also obliged to visit the sick, and take care that the medical men were properly attentive in all parts of the union, and much therefore of the success of the Poor Law Amendment Act must depend on the manner in which they discharged those duties. The best person he believed that could be appointed was the collector of the poor-rates; but at the present moment there were several unions in the country without such an officer. He had thought it his duty, as chairman of a very extensive union in Sussex, formerly one of the most pauperized districts, but now, he was happy to say, very much the reverse, to state thus much, in order to call attention to the subject. There was another cause, which declared that a clergyman should not bury dead bodies until the relatives of the deceased should produce a certificate that his death had been duly registered. In that part of the country with which he was immediately connected, no greater evil could possibly arise than that of keeping a corpse in the church-yard while a certificate was being procured.
did not think the services of the district-relieving officers could at present be taken advantage of under this Bill. He agreed with the noble Duke (Richmond) that the fittest person would be the collector for the union. With respect to the appointment of registrar by the board of guardians, the registrar-general would have the power of removing him, which was some slight security for good conduct.
§ The Bill went through the Committee with amendments.
§ House resumed.