Page:Appeal to the wealthy of the land.djvu/29

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APPEAL TO THE WEALTHY.

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"The assistant-overseer and the other parish officer, allowed, that no attention whatever was ever paid to character; but that the most notorious drunkards swearers, and thieves, with wives and families, were all duly relieved by the arithmetic of the magistrates' scale. I asked them, if they never took these men before the bench for punishment. Their answer was that they had so often been reprimanded, and triumphed over, (to use their own expression), that they had given it up in despair, and relieved all alike, bad and good, meritorious and profligate."—Commissioners' Report, p. 108.

"The greatest thief in the parish has the magistrate's allowance; the honest but unfortunate, get nothing more."—Idem, p. 9

"Being secure of good wages for mere nominal work, the ill-disposed and idle throw themselves wilfully on the parish; the effect is most ruinous on the small householders, who, being already on the verge of pauperism, may be converted, by a slight addition to their burden, from payers to receivers of rates."—Idem, p. 15.

"In the month of December, 1832, four healthy young men, receiving from 12s. to 14s. per week from the parish, refused to work at thrashing for a farmer, at 2s. 6d. and a quart of ale per day; and the only punishment indicted on them by the parish officers, was taking off half a day's pay, 1s.!! at the same time, a poor widow, aged 75, could obtain but 1s. per week for her support from the vestry!!"—Idem, p. 16.

"Out-door paupers have nearly the same amount of wages allowed them without work, that could have been obtained by independent labourers by hard work; the pauper having in addition to the money payments, frequent allowances of clothes from the parish, and payments on account of rent, and 'other advantages!'"—Idem, p. 218.

"A man lately married a girl, who left her place for that purpose on Wednesday. They applied for relief on the Saturday. It will appear from the scale, that, on marriage there is an immediate increase of 3s. per week."—Idem, p. 3.

"There is a butcher who occupies, I think, 20 acres of land, who has five or six cows and a horse. A son of this butcher, an able-bodied man, is constantly on the parish."—Idem, p.84.

"So long as this continues a parish of its present small extent, with its present number of poor, the property must be an encumbrance to the proprietor; for he can expect no rent, the rates assessed upon the land far exceeding its value, amounting, as they last year have done, to more than 32s. in the pound at rack rent."—Idem, p. 88.

"Of this population [6468] there were 420 able-bodied persons receiving relief, 360 were regular, and 60 casual. A short time since, 1000 persons were receiving relief."—Idem, p. 186.

"The English peasant no longer looks on parish relief as a degradation: such a feeling is extinct."—Idem, p. 200.

"Mr. Cliff, the assistant-overseer of Burghfield parish, stated: 'Whilst the allowance system went on, it was a common thing for young people to come to me for parish relief two or three days after they were married: nay, I have had them come to me just as they came out of the church, and apply to me for a loaf of bread to eat, and for a bed to lie on that night!!"—Idem, p. 236.

"A woman says she was not bred up to work, and won't work; she does not even choose to knit; and during the last month she received 6s., 4s., 4s., and 3s. in the four weeks, week by week."—Idem, p. 121.

"Those labourers who have families, say, 'We can get 10s. or 12s. per week from the parish; why should we slave ourselves for this sum?"—Idem, p. 123.

"This system secures subsistence to all; to the idle as well as to the industrious; to the profligate as well as to the sober; and, as far as human interests are concerned, all inducements to obtain a good character are taken away."—E. R. vol. xlvii. p. 321.

Under the third head, the encouragement afforded to the mothers of illegitimate children, the following disgusting facts are abundantly sufficient.[1]

"A woman of Swaffham was reproached by the magistrate with the burdens that she had
  1. I had strong doubts about the propriety of publishing the odious, offensive, and immoral statements under this head; and should have pretermitted them, but that it would be doing manifest injustice to the argument. The clamour against the poor laws arises wholly from a want of discrimination between their proper administration and their abuse. It is therefore imperiously necessary to display, in their utter deformity, the monstrous abuses by which a charitable, benevolent, and sagacious system has, after a period of 190 years' admirable administration, been degraded, dishonoured, and rendered so unpopular as to create a loud outcry for its abolition.