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Soldiers' Pensions

Volume 49: debated on Wednesday 17 July 1839

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House in committee on the Soldiers' Pensions Bill. Mr. Bernal in the chair.

begged to suggest to the noble Lord the Secretary at War the propriety of adopting some arrangement for paying pensions weekly, instead of quarterly, as at present. He was often in the neighbourhood of Chelsea, and had witnessed scenes of the utmost wretchedness there, owing to the improvident manner in which the pensioners expended their pensions when they received considerable sums at a time.

said, that although he was most anxious to adopt any measure which could check the improvidence to which the hon. Member alluded, there would be great difficulty in adopting the plan of weekly payments, because it would put an injurious restraint upon industrious men, by compelling them to appear so frequently at a particular place to receive their allowances.

thanked the hon. Member for Finsbury for the suggestion, which would be of great utility. The objections of the noble Lord could be easily met by making weekly payments the regular rule, and holding over the payments until the end of the quarter for those who might desire it. On the second clause enabling Poor-law guardians to require pensions to be paid to them for relief given,

objected to it as oppressive. It gave power to boards of guardians in cases where the children of a pensioner were taken into a workhouse, to obtain repayment of the cost of their maintenance out of the man's pension. He would take the sense of the House upon the clause.

said, that as the law now stood the guardians had the power to which the hon. Member objected. The object of the clause was to prevent the exercise of that power from being oppressive or unjust to the pensioner.

said, that whatever might be the policy of the existing law, the present clause would be an impovement.

thought it a most harsh clause. By giving the guardians a prior claim over a man's pension, it would make it impossible for him to assign it to anybody.

said, it had always been the policy of Parliament to prevent any assignment whatever of a soldier's pension under the severest penalties. The only exception was in the case of the parochial authorities who ought to be compelled to support the pensioner or his family.

The committee divided on the clause. Ayes 59; Noes 7:—Majority 52.

List of the AYES.

Adam, AdmiralNagle, Sir R.
Baring, F. T.O'Brien, W. S.
Barnard, E. G.O'Ferrall, R. M.
Bowes, J.Palmer, G.
Bridgeman, H.Parker, J.
Briscoe, J. I.Parker, M.
Brotherton, J.Parnell, rt. hn. Sir H.
Bryan, G.Pigot, D. R.
Campbell, Sir J.Pryme, G.
Clements, ViscountRice, rt. hon. T. S.
Dalmeny, LordRichards, R.
Donkin, Sir R. S.Roche, W.
Duff, J.Russell, Lord
Dundas, Sir R.Sheil, R. L.
Evans, W.Sheppard, T.
Fenton, J.Smith, B.
Ferguson, Sir R. A.Style, Sir C.
French, F.Thomson, rt. hn. C. P.
Gisborne, T.Troubridge, Sir E. T.
Gordon, hon. CaptainTurner, E.
Grant, F. W.Vigors, N. A.
Greenaway, C.Walker, R.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.Warburton, H.
Hobhouse, rt. hn. Sir J.Williams, W. A.
Hope, hon. C.Wood, C.
Howick, ViscountWood, Colonel T.
Hume, J.Yates, J. A.
Humphrey, J.Young, J.
Langdale, hon. C.


Lushington, rt. hon. S.Stanley, hon. E. J.
Morpeth, Visc.Gordon, R.

List of the NOES.

Archdall, MervynParker, R. T.
Burroughes, H. N.Sibthorp, Colonel
Chetwyud, Major


Fector, J. M.Boldero, H. G.
Lygon, hon. G.Wakley, T.

Clause agreed to. Bill passed through the committee. House resumed.