Conservative Victory in Stafford By-Election, 1837

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Robert Farrand’s Victory Speech, as reported by Staffordshire Advertiser

He had been frequently interrogated, during his canvass, respecting his views on the subject of the new poor law which appeared to have created some uneasiness here. He thought the new law objectionable, particularly the clause which compelled the separation  of man and wife (great cheering). He considered that the clause was inhuman and contrary to the injunctions of holy religion which enjoined that, “Whom God had joined together, no man should put asunder” (cheers). He thought it extremely hard to compel an old couple even to go into the workhouse, after a life of toil and penury; he thought they should have some allowance at home as formerly; but to separate them when there was, in his opinion, an act of the greatest cruelty (loud cheers)

He considered that the law was defective because it treated lightly the claims of a class of persons who were amongst the most valuable in the community; he meant the working class (cheers). Who constituted the great bulwark of the country and an important source of its greatness ? Who filled the ranks of our armies and manned our vessels of war and commerce ? Who were the means of production of our domestic comforts and national wealth ? The Working Class, most certainly. They ought , therefore, to be protected and as he thought their claims were infringed upon by a portion of the new Poor Law he should unite with those who would amend the objectionable clauses.