And here we may remark how frequently one evil brings consent to receive it who could possibly do without it; while others in its train; and, therefore, how important it is to at the same time it should come in the shape of comfort and keep in the simple track of justice. The real cause of the consolation to those whom every benevolent man would wish introduction of the allowance system into England (joined to succour--the old, infirm, idiots, and cripples. For this with the ignorance of those who originated it) was the vio- purpose, he placed in the workhouse a steady, cool-tempered lent change in the value of money which took place about man, who was procured from a distance, and as not known forty years ago; and later changes, of equal or perhaps in the parish, as master, refused all relief in kind or money, greater violence, have done much towards extending the and sent every applicant and his family at once into the use of this system, At the time in question (1795), money workhouse. The fare is meat three times a week, soup was rapidly falling in value,-in other words, prices were twice, pudding once, milk porridge five times. rising. Now, it unfortunately happens that wages, which, Surely no man who says that he cannot maintain himlike everything else, ought to rise and fall with the value self, wife, and children, by the sweat of his brow—who of money, change very slowly either in one way or the other. declares that he is starving—who applies for charity—has a Thus, in the time we are speaking of, bread and meat were right to complain of being placed in a clean and comfortable getting dearer faster than wages were rising, so that the house, of having a good bed to sleep on, and such fare every labouring man was in great distress; and this it was, pro- day as I have described above; and had Mr. Lowe stopped bably, that induced the Berkshire magistrates to attempt to here, matters would not have been much mended. But the regulate wages: in doing which they planted a deadly weed applicant who entered the workhouse, on the plea that he which has since spread over a great part of the country. was starving for want of work, was taken at his word, and

Again, the more recent changes in the value of money told that these luxuries and benefits could only be given have, by greatly raising the farmer's rent, &c., thrown him by the parish against work, and in addition, that a certain in many cases into great difficulties; and his distress at regular routine was established, to which all the inmates length reaching the labourer, new motives have offered must conform. The man goes to one side of the house, the themselves to the unreflecting for extending the allowance wife to the other, and the children into the school-room. system.

Separation is steadily enforced. Their own clothes are taken In justice, however, to those who have either introduced off, and the uniform of the workhouse put on. No beer, or propagated the allowance system, it must not be forgotten tobacco, or snuff is allowed. Regular hours kept, or meals that a great deal of the blame lies with the country at large, forfeited. Every one must appear in a state of personal in not providing an efficient system of police to protect life cleanliness. No access to bed-rooms during the day. No and property from the turbulent and lawless. Many of communication with friends out of doors. Breaking stones those who have the administration of the poor-laws are fully in the yard by the grate [piece), as large a quantity required aware of the dreadful evils of the allowance system : they every day as an able-bodied labourer is enabled to break. see that, in many places, it is hurrying both themselves and “ What is there in all this of which an applicant for a the labourers to ruin; but it requires no ordinary courage portion of the property of others, on the ground that he is and firmness to take a step which would, in many cases, starving, has any right to complain? He has a better house put their property and lives in peril.

over his head, better clothes on his back, better and more The following is the pleasing picture of a parish redeemed palatable food to eat, better medical advice, than nine-tenths from the state of degradation into which the allowance of the peasantry of Germany, France, Switzerland, and Italy, system had reduced it. It is taken from Mr. Cowell's Re- and he is not required to do harder work. But the monoport, p. 388. The parish is that of Bingham, Nottingham- tony, the restraint, the want of stimulants, the regularity of shire;

and the gentleman to whom the honour of the reform hours, are irksome to the pretended pauper. He bethinks is due, is the Rev. Mr. Lowe, incumbent of the parish. Mr. himself of liberty and work, and work he will find, if there Lowe began the good work in the year 1818. The year is a job undone in the parish or neighbourhood within a before, the poor-rates were 12001., the population being day's walk. No man stood this discipline for three weeks, 1500. An immediate effect was produced on the amount After a struggle which lasted a few months, the paupers of of the rates, as is shown by the following table:-

Bingham gave the matter up. The inmates of the work£

house dropped from forty-five to twelve, who were all either 1817 1 206

old, idiots, or infirm, and to whom a workhouse is really a 1818 984

place of comfort. The number of persons relieved out of 1819 711

the workhouse dropped from seventy-eight to twenty-seven. 1820 510

The weekly pay from 6l. to ll. 168. to pensioners, all of 1821 338

whom are old and blind, or crippled. These are permitted Such was the change in the cost of the poor ; and we have to live with their relations, as such instances of relieving no doubt that, if a scale could be drawn out, showing the out of the workhouse produce no mischief. real comfort and happiness of the inhabitants generally, it Wages rose to twelve shillings a week, winter and sumwould be found that those advanced quite as rapidly as the mer, all the year through ; the labourer husbanded his poor-rates fell off. The present amount of the rates is 4501. resources, took a pride and pleasure in his cottage, and The population of Bingham has, however, increased some- resumed his rank in the scale of moral being. what; and, of course, Bingham cannot escape the causes of The effect of this system is far more important in a moral agricultural distress, beyond the reach of local reforms. point of view, than in a pecuniary or an economical one.

“The Rev. Mr. Lowe became the incumbent of this parish The conduct and habits of the population of Bingham, in the year 1814; he is a magistrate, and resides on his according to the representations of Mr. Lowe and Deane, living. He found it in a terrible state. In the year 1817 and by the consent of the neighbourhood, are now as different there were more than forty inmates in the workhouse ; from what they were fifteen years ago, as can be conceived ; seventy-eight receiving constant weekly pay out of it; and, no crimes, no misdeeds, no disturbances." for the twelve weeks ending the 27th of June that year, I The example set by Mr. Lowe, in the reform of Bingham, [Mr. Cowell] counted the number of roundsmen in the has been followed in other places with equal success; and parish books, and found it amount to 103.

reforms, on a more extensive scale, have, in the course of “ The state of morals was that which invariably accompa- the last few years, been effected in Liverpool, Birmingham, nies this manner of administering the poor-laws. The Derby, Oldham, and other large towns. In some of these labourers were turbulent, idle, dissolute, profuse; scarcely (as we shall show when considering the effects of superior a night passed without mischief; and in the two years pre- parochial government), the cost of the poor has been greatly ceding 1818, seven men of the parish were transported for reduced, even with an increasing population; and this felonies. The poor, to use the words of my examinants, Mr. reduction of the burthen to the rate-payers has been brought Lowe, and Deane the overseer, were completely masters. about without any sacrifice of the real interests of the poor

" In 1818-19, Mr. Lowe undertook to remedy this state -nay, to their great benefit. of things. Being satisfied that it proceeded entirely from Bustardy.The provision for bastard children forms, to the operation of the poor-laws, and that there was no cause, a certain extent, a branch of the allowance system. We independent of their influence, to prevent his parishioners have already given some explanation of the state of the law from being happy, honest, and industrious, and knowing of bastardy. The burthen of the support of a bastard child, that it was impossible to refuse relief, according to the prac- like that of any other child, falls by law on the parents-tice and custom of the country, he devised means for render- the parish being required to provide for the child only in ing relief itself so irksome and disagreeable that none would case of extreme indigence on the part of the parents ; the


[ocr errors]

parish, in that case, having the power to prosecute the father | administer the poor-laws than on anything else. As one and mother for the offence which has brought a burthen among many proofs of this, we may mention Burghfield upon it. Now, there is nothing objectionable in the prin- parish, near Reading, where the introduction of a superior ciple of the law, as just laid down, but the practice is bad parochial government was quickly followed by a reduction enough. The parents are seldom punished in any way to one-half in the number of births of bastard children. whatever ; and the allowance to the mother for the support of the child is often greater than that afforded to the widow

PROPER MODE OF RELIEF. for her legitimate offspring,-nay, the mother of a bastard child is often the better off for her offence; she frequently Having now pointed out some of the many evils resulting receives more than the child costs her : her children, there from the relief by allowance, it appears advisable to state fore, become a source of income to her, and make her an in what manner it seems most eligible to afford relief. In object to be scrambled for in marriage by the young fellows rendering relief, the three things to be constantly kept in of her parish.

mind are, Ist, a strict economy of the funds of the rateThe following extract from Mr. Cowell's Report of the payers ; 2dly, the moral improvement and real welfare of parish of Swaffham, in Norfolk, (page 393,) will show that the pauper ; 3dly, the effect of the treatment of the pauper our picture is not overdrawn. The Reports from the other on the independent labourer. Commissioners, as also that of the Lords Committee in 1831, We have already spoken of the treatment of paupers in abound in similar matter; and here we may observe that workhouses. According to their character, conduct, and the evidence given in the Report of the Lords' Committee past character, the discipline should approach that of the has been very generally confirmed by the Poor-Law Com- prison in severity, or place the inmate in a situation not very missioners. Several of the facts we have extracted from far inferior to that of the independent labourer. The most the Commissioners' Report might have been taken from difficult part of the duty of a parish officer, however, is the that of the Lords' Committee.

relief of out-paupers-só various are the ways in which he " A woman in a neighbouring parish had five illegitimate may be imposed upon. The out-pauper may be getting children, for whom she was allowed 10s. per week, and 68. higher wages than he states, or he may be able to get work for herself. Finding herself pregnant for the sixth time, which he refuses to take, or he may be wasting part of his she employed a man to go round to various persons with income at the gin-shop, or he may be receiving relief from whom she might or might not have had connexion, to ac- some charity, or from another parish. In any one, or in all quaint each of them separately with the fact of her preg- these ways, the out-pauper may be deceiving and defrauding. nancy, and of her intention of swearing the child to him What are the precautions to be taken against all this? unless he consented to send her a sum of money, when she In the first place, we should say that, excepting under very would engage to swear it to some one else. Her demands peculiar circumstances, such as a sudden and unforeseen for this hush-money ranged as high as 101. in some instances. calamity causing general and severe distress, no person The first man to whom her ambassador applied gave him ought ever to receive relief out of the workhouse, unless the 101. The ambassador returned, and represented to his overseer fully believes him to be a sober, honest, and indusemployer that the man had laughed at her threat, but had trious man. If there be any doubt of his character, he should sent her half-a-crown, out of which he thought she ought be immediately placed in the workhouse, where (under good to give him 18. 6d. for his trouble. To this she consented ; arrangements) he can be compelled to work, and has no so he benefited 91. 198., and she 1s. by this first negotiation. opportunity of abusing the parish relief by buying gin, &c. She carried on this course with several persons with various Even those who may be safely trusted to receive relief at success, and at last swore the child to a man who resis their own homes should not obtain it in money. That most and on his appeal succeeded in getting the order on him tempting commodity, money, ought never to get into the quashed. The case was tried at Swaffham, where the hands of a pauper ; for if it is to be of real service to his above circumstances came to light in court.

family, the man must exchange the money for bread and “ This woman was never punished. She gave birth to clothes : then why not keep him out of temptation by giving her child, was allowed 28. for it by the parish, and is now in him food and clothes at once ? Independently of this, relief the receipt of 18s. per week, the produce of successful bas- in kind is the cheapest ; for surely a parish can, under toletardy adventures.

rable management, buy and cook more economically than “ My informant in this and the following instance was a man who has only a few shillings to expend. In a later Mr. Sewell, clerk to the magistrates at Swaffham.

part of our article, we shall (in speaking of the advantage A woman of Swaffham was reproached by the magis- of incorporating small parishes) give some valuable evidence trate, Mr. Young, with the burdens she had brought upon on the saving that may be effected by providing for people the parish, on the occasion of her appearing before him in large numbers. Relief then, we repeat, should always be to present the parish with her seventh bastard. She replied, given in kind, never in money. Another regulation we * I am not going to be disappointed in my company with venture to recommend, is, to have the food, clothing, &c., men to save the parish. This woman now receives 148. a carried round to the houses of the paupers, and delivered to week for her seven bastards, being 2s. a head for each. Mr. the wife, who is almost always a better manager than the Sewell informed me that, had she been a widow with seven husband, and more anxious for the comfort of the children. legitimate children, she would not have received so much With this arrangement, too, there would be no chance of a by 48. or 5s. a week, according to their scale of allowance to man's getting supplied by two parishes at the same time. widows. A bastard child is thus about 25 per cent. more Again, the fact of his receiving relief would be generally valuable to a parent than a legitimate one. The premium known to the charitable in the neighbourhood; moreover, upon want of chastity, perjury, and extortion, is here very the man's own day would not be broken into by his having obvious; and Mr. Sewell informed me that it is considered a to fetch his parish allowance, nor would he be brought into good speculation to marry a woman who can bring a fortune association for a couple of hours every week with numbers of one or two bastards to her husband. Mr. Sewell had of other paupers. never known in the course of his experience but two women In no case, except that of sickness, should relief be afforded punished for having illegitimate children. The profligacy without a full quantity of work, of some kind or other, being in this neighbourhood is very great."

previously done. In many parishes, the cost of the paupers It is needless to expatiate on the utter incapacity of men has been considerably reduced by the work performed by under whose management such a state of things as this them. In the workhouse of Shardlow parish, Derbyshire, could arise. What can be more simple than that if you for example, the able-bodied poor, according to Mr. Pilkinggive a premium for incontinence and perjury, inconti- ton's Report, very nearly earned the cost of their maintenence and perjury will be created ? The conclusion, how-nance last year. If the out-paupers did nothing more than ever, to be drawn from the facts just given, and from a keep the streets and roads clean in wet weather, and well hundred others of a like kind, is, that the administration of watered in hot, dusty weather, they would be doing somethe poor-laws ought to be placed in the hands of men who thing which would add very much to the comfort of the inhaare chosen because of their fitness for office--who have some bitants of our towns and villages. The out-paupers might knowledge of human nature and of the springs of action, also do a great deal towards protecting the health of the and who are held responsible for the performance of their town by draining, removing heaps of manure, whitewashing, duties. The extent of bastardy, in any particular dis- cleaning, &c. The state of our towns and villages, when trict, like that of most of the other evils we have considered, the fear of the cholera roused attention to these matters, depends more on the intelligence or ignorance of those who showed how much labour might be profitably employed in

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

the way we have pointed out. But the greatest advantage vident, and vicious constitute the second. To the former is derived from the plan of hard labour is the ready test it allowed an ample supply of butcher's meat and other suitable affords of a pauper's necessities. The principal instrument food; to the second class nothing but bread and cheese. in effecting the parochial reforms we have spoken of has None are allowed to absent themselves from the workhouse, been work, and any relaxation has been followed by an or to receive visiters within its walls, without an express and increase in the numbers of paupers.

written order from an overseer. The following is taken from Mr. Henderson's Report from “ Every possible encouragement is given to honest inLiverpool, page 346. Mr. Henderson is speaking of the dustry, providence, and frugality, by the establishment of way in which the reform of parish affairs there was carried a saving-bank, a friendly society, a lying-in-charity, and into effect,—a reform which, in the space of two years, re- all other means that can be devised. Young persons going duced the amount of poor-rates from 41,0001. to 23,0001. to service are allowed an outfit of clothes ; and a member of This took place in the years 1821 and 1822.

the friendly society is always received by the select restry “ This change was brought about by a thorough investi- with marked attention. I cannot help adding that, during gation of all the cases on the parish books: the parties the late troubles, there has been no fire, no riot, no threatenreceiving relief were examined, and the circumstances under ing letter in the parish." which they first became chargeable were carefully scrutinized, Mr. Chadwick's Report bears evidence of the happy effects by which means numerous impositions were detected, and on the comforts and moral welfare of the inhabitants of the parish was enabled to reduce or withdraw many of the Cookham, produced by these and other arrangements inallowances. Great exertions were also made to provide troduced by Mr. Whateley :work for able-bodied paupers : the vestry at one time con- “ In Cookham, where the change was the most extentracted to fill up part of an old stone quarry, and make a sive, the parochial expenditure was reduced from 31331. to road over it; at another to cultivate by spade labour a large 11551. and the general condition of the labouring classes tract of ground called the Rector's Fields; and at another improved. Mr. Russell, the magistrate of Swallowfield, time to level, for the sum of 10001., a large rock near the stated to me, that in riding through Cookham he was so workhouse, on the site of which the Infirmary has since been much struck with the appearance of comfort observable in built. Thus they set to work all able-bodied applicants for the persons and residences of some of the labouring classes relief, and also turned all able-bodied men out of the work of that village, that he was led to make inquiries into the house, paying them one shilling a day to provide themselves, cause, The answers he received, determined him to exert and exacting a good day's work in return. Many under this his influence to procure a similar change of system in Swalsystem, who had been for years in the workhouse, quitted it, lowfield." and'eventually found employment for themselves elsewhere." We may here remark how true it is with voluntary cha

Mr. Chadwick gives the evidence of some of the assistant- rities as with compulsory relief, that their good or bad effect overseers of London parishes, on the necessity of providing depends on their administration. In few places is more work for out-paupers. The following is that of Mr. Luke done for the poor and the labouring classes than at CookTeather, assistant-overseer of St. Mary, Lambeth :

ham; the assistance, however, is judiciously afforded, and “ If you could get hard work for your able-bodied out-door few places can be pointed out in which the people are in a poor, so as to make their condition on the whole less eligible more thriving state. than that of the independent labourer, what proportion of To return, however, to the subject of pauper labour. those who are now chargeable to the parish do you think Whenever there is any difficulty in obtaining the proper would remain so ?-On a rough guess, I do not think that amount of work from an out-pauper, the privilege of receivmore than one out of five would remain.

ing relief at his own house should be withdrawn, and he “ Can you state any facts to justify that conclusion ?- should be forthwith subjected to the discipline of the workYes : the instances of the proportions who have left us on house. their having had work given them. Some time ago, for Under a good general system of management we have instance, we had a lot of granite broken ; there were not little doubt that work might readily be found, in draining, above twenty per cent of the men who began the work who cleansing, cutting new roads, widening streets, &c. &c., remained to work at all; there were not above two per cent. which would enable society with very little loss to afford who remained the whole of the time during which the work wages sufficient to procure the necessaries of life to all who lasted. Many of them, however, were not idle men ; but choose to apply for employment. If this could be brought they found other jobs."

about, most of the vexations about paupers' settlements, &c. " With the view of reducing the parochial expenditure of would be done away with. If a man earned, or nearly the populous parish of Marylebone, the stone-yard was dis- earned, the allowance afforded him by the parish, there continued, as it was believed to be conducted at a loss, and would be but little motive for inquiring whether or not he the able-bodied paupers receiving out-door relief were no happened to belong to that particular parish. longer employed. Soon after this proceeding, the able-bodied The following evidence of Mr. William Winkworth, the applicants for parochial relief increased in such numbers, overseer of the parish of St. Mary's, Reading, is from Mr. that it has recently been found necessary to recur to the use Chadwick's Report, p. 207 :of the stone-yard to stem the influx. Nine hundred of the “In this town great advantages would be derived by a applicants for relief were set to work; only eighty-five have union of the parishes: first, in obtaining more efficient officontinued at work. The average wages were from 10s. to cers and administrators ; next, in systematic and united 12s. per week, but some got as much as 18s."

management; thirdly, in more economical expenditure; and The evidence of the Rev. Thomas Whateley, before the fourthly, in finding things for labour, and in directing the Lords' Committee, is very strong on the advantages of pro- labour of the able-bodied paupers. viding work for the poor. Mr. Whateley is speaking of The town, for example, wants draining. We have Cookham parish, Berkshire :

brickmakers and carpenters, and other labourers, on the “The system of management introduced by the select parishes, receiving relief; and the whole town might be well vestry of the parish of Cookham has been attended with very drained by the labour of these paupers, at the expense of beneficial effects, both to the rate-payer and to the poor. materials only-bricks, wood, mortar, and sand. This, how

To the former it has saved in eight years up to Lady-day ever, is a work which the parishes cannot, or will not, unlast, compared with the preceding eight years, no less a sum dertake separately: it is prevented by petty jealousies and than 15,0081. To the latter it has been equally beneficial, dissensions, and the want of able officers to direct the work by introducing habits of frugality, industry, and providence, of the paupers. The owners of premises well situated and which have been strongly marked by their beneficial effects. well drained, say, ' Drainage is a benefit to the owners of the Only one bastard child has been registered in either of the property, and we do not see why we should be called upon two last years. The system is simple, and may be accom- to contribute money for their benefit.' The owners of the modated to the circumstances of most agricultural parishes. houses where the drainage is most wanted say, “We canIts leading features are the employment of the able-bodied get no rents to pay for the work, and the nuisances which poor, who apply for relief, at low wages and at hard work are caused by the want of it must therefore continue.' No by the piece, showing them that the parish is the hardest account is taken of the necessity of finding work of any sort task-master and the lowest pay-master they can apply to. for the able-bodied paupers : nothing can be done with the Never giving any thing in aid of labour, rent, or rates. Di- separate parishes governed by open vestries, no cordial coviding the paupers in the workhouse into two classes; the operation can be got, and the benefit of considerable labour old, infirm, and impotent form the first; the idle, impro- is lost. As the surveyor of the road from this town to Ba

[ocr errors]


singstoke, and also of the road from hence to Shillingford, IT We will now inquire what the amount of poor-rates is in can state, from my observation of the several parishes (nine- some parishes where the bad management, generally found teen in number) through which these roads pass, that very in small parishes, is not checked by causes like those opeconsiderable labour might be found, under good direction, in rating in the north. In Berkshire, the rates in the year improving their private roads. This is an instance of the 1831 were 158, 2d. a head ; in Wiltshire, 168. 7d.; and in sort of work which might frequently be found for paupers. Sussex, 19s. 5d.; being more than four times the proportion In some of the parishes the roads are kept in very good of poor-rates to population in Lancashire, and nearly eight order,-but this is mere accident; whilst in the immediately times what it is at the town of Oldham. adjoining parishes more money will be expended, and the With these general facts to start with, we may now go on roads will, nevertheless, be in so bad a state, that the parish to consider in what the advantages of large parishes consist. is indictable for them,"

In the first place, a great deal of trouble and vexation is Again, at page 316, Mr, Mott gives the following evi- saved in determining settlements. In a large parish, a man dence :

may generally go where his labour is wanted, and may “From the statements of medical men in the metropolis, change his abode many times without making any alteration and also of such persons as Dr. Kay of Manchester, it ap- in his settlement, or giving room for any dispute concerning pears that, in consequence of the want of drainage of certain it; but in the ridiculously small parishes to be found in districts, and the crowded and dirty state of the habitations, some parts of the country, containing only a few hundred there are some neighbourhoods from which disease is never acres of land, a labourer can scarcely take a hop, stride, and absent. • Have you observed similar effects in the parishes jump, without changing his parish, or at least getting on dewith which you are acquainted ?' — I have observed it, not bateable ground. only in Lambeth, but in all crowded neighbourhoods; and, England and Wales are at present chopped up into as seeing how large a source of unavoidable pauperism this is, many as 10,000 distinct parishes ; and the city of London, I have long regretted that the proprietors of these small within the walls, containing a population of not more than houses were not compelled to keep them in a proper state. 55,000, is divided into ninety-six separate parishes. An independent labourer may be industrious and provident, If the 10,000 parishes, into which the country is divided, and yet both he and his family may be subjected to a fever, were incorporated into 500, there would still be much room or other disease, and thrown upon the parish, in consequence for further union at a future time. Still, however, an imof want of drainage, and filth, and other causes, which he portant step would be taken, and much good would result. has no means of removing.'

If such new divisions of the country were made, advantage “So that, looking merely to the poor-rates, it would be should be taken of the opportunity of forming districts or good economy to pay attention to drainage and the enforce-parishes on really good principles of'union. We would subment of sanatory regulations ?'—'I think so ;, and that it mit the following for consideration, each to be abided by would be attended with great benefit. Some neighbourhoods as far as a general attention to all will admit:- Equality of are so constantly the seats of particular diseases, and sources population and wealth-similarity of interests and occupaof pauperism from that cause, that if assistant-overseers, tions among the inhabitants-facility of intercourse-and and others accustomed to yisit the abodes of the poor, were convenience of boundary. A number of parishes formed on asked for cases of those diseases, they could direct you to these principles might together make a county, and be particular places where you would almost be sure to find the placed under a municipal government, disease at work. I remember that, one winter, when the With a good system of management, such as is at the weather was very severe, the beadles of Newington parish command of large bodies acting in unison, the advantages were directed to pay particular attention to the sick out-door resulting from the junction of parishes would probably be so poor. They went at once to some courts in Kent Street, as great that, in a few years, there would be a general inclinaa matter of course, without making any inquiry (just as a tion to join yet further. In this case we should venture to gamekeeper would go to a well-stocked preserye); and re- recommend that the parishes should still remain separate, as turned with two coach-loads full of most deplorable objects, far as regards the amount of poor-levies required from them, the victims of frightful disease.''

but that they should be united in all that relates to the ex

penditure of the levies. The question how much each parNECESSITY OF AN IMPROVED AND UNIFORM SYSTEM IN decided by the municipal government; and should be de

ticular parish should be required to contribute, might be THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE POOR-Laws.

termined on a consideration of the peculiar circumstances The remaining defects in the English poor-laws (we speak of the parish, and how far the inhabitants had exerted themof the principal ones only) can perhaps be best considered selves to remove, by education or otherwise, the causes of under the present head,

pauperism. Parishes too small.— As the present division of the country, To return to the evils produced at present by the settleas to parishes, was made long before the introduction of ment laws, and the division of the country into small papoor-laws, and therefore without the slightest reference to rishes. As we have before said, a great deal of money is their administration, it is not surprising that it should prove at present wasted in determining to what particular parish a very inconvenient one; the only wonder is, that the ar- a pauper belongs; and labouring men are often refused rangement has not been changed long ago. One thing ap- employment in parishes where they are really wanted, lest pears certain, namely, that, as regards the administration of they should get settlements there, and so eventually become the poor-laws, most of the existing parishes are far too small. a burden. To prevent settlements of this kind another evil There is plenty of evidence to show that, excepting under is often run into. Labourers and servants are hired for peculiar circumstances, the large parishes are much better short periods; and thus a bar is put to the growth of those managed than the small ones.

mutual sympathies between employer and labourer which In the year 1831, the cost of the poor of Liverpool was are so important in their effects on the character of each. only 48. 3 d. per head of the population; that is to say, every Sometimes the difficulty

is on the side of the labourer himperson on an average was called upon for only 4$. 3}d. of self, who refuses work offered him elsewhere, lest he should poor-rates. In Oldham the rates were yet lower, being only lose a settlement in a “ good parish ,"'-meaning by that, a 2s. 31d. each individual. Taking the whole county of Lan- parish in which the allowance system is in full play, and caster, with its great towns and throngs of inhabitants, the the scale high. It is easy to see that all this must lead to poor-rates amounted to not more than 48. 4 d. per head of a great deal of trouble and mischief; and by referring to the population, which is considerably less than in any other the evidence of facts, such conclusion is fully borne out. county in the whole of England and Wales. This low Mr. Chadwick, from whose able Report we have already rate is most nearly approached by the counties in the ex- given several extracts, supplies us with the following appotreme north of the country. We are not aware that parishes site matter:-are at all larger there than elsewhere; the inhabitants, " The Rev. R. R. Bailey, chaplain to the Tower, who has however, have in their old-established customs many secu- had extensive opportunities of observing the operation of the rities against pauperism which do not exist in other parts of poor-laws in the rural districts, states, the country. We wish we had room to give a detailed ac- “ I consider that the present law of settlement renders count of their mode of life ; for the present we must content the peasant, to all intents and purposes, a bondsman; he is ourselves with referring such of our readers as have access chained to the soil by the operation of the system, and it to the document, to the very interesting evidence of Mr. forbids his acquiring property, or enjoying it openly or Grey given in the Report of the Lords' Committee of 1831, honestly. I am of opinion that management by hundreds,





instead of by parishes, would greatly benefit all classes. I spoken of the frauds practised by paupers, For additional Very frequent instances have occurred to me of one parish information on this subject we turn to Mr, Chadwick's Robeing full of labourers, and suffering greatly from want of port, p. 257 :employment, whilst in another adjacent parish there is a The general effect of particular modes of living and grademand for labour. I have no doubt that if the labourers dation of dietaries, may be best proved by the declarations were freed from their present trammels, there would be and conduct of those who have tried them all. such a circulation of labour as would relieve the agricul- “. In consequence of the inquiries I have made on this tural districts.'

subject, many of the inmates of the workhouses have been "Can you give any instances within your own knowledge questioned as to their experience. Mr. Hewitt, the master of the operation of the law of settlement?'—'I was requested of the workhouse of St. Andrew 3, Holborn, and St. George by Colonel Bogson, Kesgrove House, to furnish him with a the Martyr, made separate and close inquiries of several farming bailift. I found a man in all respects qualified for of the paupers in that house, who had been in various his situation; he was working at 9s, a week in the parish prisons and workhouses, and on board the hulks. He has where I lived. The man was not encumbered by a family, furnished me with several dietaries made up from the stateand he thankfully accepted my offer : the situation was, in ments of the paupers, and I find that they correspond very point of emolument, and comfort, and station, a considerable accurately with the dietaries set forth in the official returns. advance ; his advantages would have been doubled. In From the statements and admissions of the paupers, it apabout a week he altered his mind, and declined the situa- peared that they usually knew to an ounce the dietaries of tion, in consequence, as I understood, of his fearing to the metropolitan prisons, and the hulks, and of many of the remove from what was considered a good parish to a bad workhouses, of which some one amongst them had made one, the parish to which it was proposed to remove him being trial. One of the paupers, named James Philby, a stout connected with a hundred house, in which there was more able-bodied man, (with the exception that he had a club strict management.--I was requested by a poor man, whom foot,) had been fifteen times in the House of Correction for I respected, to find a situation for his son, in London ; the various misdemeanours, He also acknowledged that he had son was a strong young man, working at that time at about received relief from the parishes of St. James, Clerkenwell; 88. a week. I eventually succeeded in getting him a good Chelsea ; Bethnal Green; St. Giles, Bloomsbury; St. situation of one guinea per week, in London, where his Dunstan, Fleet Street ; St. Andrew, Holborn, above bars; labour would have been much less than it was in the country; the Liberty of the Rolls; Whitechapel; St. Mary, Newbut when the period arrived at which he was expected in ington; St. Andrew, Saffron Hill; Kensington ; and St. London, he was not forthcoming. It appeared he had al- George, Southwark. He had resided in all these worktered his mind, and determined not to take the place; as I houses; he had lived in one workhouse whilst he managed understood, his reason for refusing to accept it arose from a to get relief as an out-door pauper from others, and that too reluctance to endanger his settlement in his parish. Such during the same week. He had also received sets up,' or are the instances which are continually presented to my ob- grants of stated sums for stated periods, from the several servation, with respect to the operation of the present system parishes. He admitted that he had, at times, varied his of settlement.'

occupation by stealing a little, One instance was mentioned, In connexion with the subject of bastardy, we have al- where, after he had been liberated from an imprisonment for ready given some facts, showing evils arising from the pre- stealing a gentleman's great coat, he went to the owner, and, sent settlement-laws. The following displays an abuse of as a favour, offered to let him have his own coat back a baranother kind :

gain. This pauper, after having received relief fraudulently " A proprietor possessing nearly the whole of a parish at from St. George's parish, Southwark, during twelve years, some distance from Ely, has, we are told, hired a farm in was prosecuted by them, and his sentence was four months Ely, which he manages by a bailiff; he sends his own pa- imprisonment. This sentence, according to his own staterishioners to work on it. To these persons his bailiff gives ment, transferred him from the workhouse—where, as an settlements in Ely, by hiring; and at the end of the year inmate on a low diet, the allowance was only 134 oz. of they are turned off upon Trinity parish in Ely, and their food weekly—to a place where the allowance was 230 oz. places supplied by a fresh immigration from the mother From the statements of these persons, it appeared that the parish. The proprietor may have had very different motives average dietaries of the workhouses in the metropolis was from those attributed to him by our examinants; and this about 170 oz. of solid food, whilst in prison the dietaries circumstance is not mentioned for the purpose of casting were from 200 oz. to 280 oz. of solid food weekly. They any reflection on him, (we do not know his name, nor what admitted that the labour in the prisons was very often little account of the transaction he himself might give,) but in more than . mere exercise;' that they were always very order to point out the temptations which settlement by kindly' treated; but that, as they lived well enough in the hiring and service throws in the way of persons even of work house, they preferred it, because they had more liberty station and education. In the case of Great Shelford, nar- there, and could get better society when they were out. • As rated above, are not the landowners, who daily see their pro- to regular work, Philby said that he could at all times travel perty slowly but surely passing away from them, under a to any part of the country, and live better on the road than strong temptation to save themselves from ruin by hiring a he could possibly do by hard labour." couple of farms for seven years, in two distinct parishes, and Superior Economy of large Parishes.- Under other heads bribing their supernumerary families to take service there? we have had occasion to bring forward some facts in support And this is clearly possible by the existing law."Report of of the opinion that the maintenance of the poor in a large Poor-Law Commissioners, p. 387.

parish can be managed more economically than in a small one. From all that has been brought forward, it appears that The following additional evidence has been given by Mr. the evils connected with the question of settlements are Charles Mott, the contractor for the poor of Lambeth very great, and that the remedies to be applied are, Ist, parish :Enlargement of parishes. 2d, The introduction of a uniform “ The city of London within the walls comprehends a system throughout the country, so that a pauper may receive population of 55,000, whose poor are relieved and managed exactly the same treatment in one parish as in another. in ninety-six parishes. Lambeth comprehends a population 3d, The reduction of the cost of a pauper to the least possible of 87,000, and the administration of relief to the poor is maamount, as well by attention to strict economy as by em- naged by one establishment, and the money raised for the ploying the pauper in useful labour. In addition to these purpose is collected on one rate.—What do

you consider reforms it would be well to adopt some more simple law of would be the effect of the subdivision of Lambeth into ninetysettlement than the present one. In Scotland every person six independent parishes, each managing the poor indebelongs to that parish in which he has dwelt during the pendently of the rest, or each exercising the right of assent greater part of the previous three years; and this law of or dissent from any combined management in the same way settlement appears to work tolerably well--at any rate very as each parish belonging to the incorporated hundreds ?much better than the English law; for the amount of liti- The chief effects which appear to me to be likely to ensue, gation in Scotland on the subject of settlement is trifling are, that we should have ninety-six imperfect establishments compared with the amount in England.

instead of one; ninety-six sources of peculation instead of Frauds by Paupers.—These would be much checked by one; ninety-six sets of officers to be imposed upon by an enlargement of parishes, and the introduction of a general paupers instead of one set; ninety-six sources of litigation and uniform system of administration. We have already, and of expense for removals and disputed settlements instead in considering the way in which relief should be afforded, of one ; and ninety-six modes of rating instead of one."



« 前へ次へ »