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Acland
Acland
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on his own petition, in 1753. In 1786 Acland published ‘A Plan for rendering the Poor independent on Public Contributions, founded on the basis of the Friendly Societies, commonly called Clubs, by the Rev. John Acland, one of His Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the County of Devon. To which is added a Letter from Dr. Price containing his sentiments and calculations on the subject. Tua res agitur. Exeter and London, 1786.’ From allusions in this pamphlet it seems that Acland's ‘plan’ was suggested to him by the failure of previous legislation for the encouragement of friendly societies in Devonshire. An act of parliament had provided that the funds of friendly societies might be supplemented by grants in aid from the proceeds of the poor-rate; it provided, amongst other things, for the payment of sums of money on the marriages of members and the births of their children. In consequence of the burden entailed on the ratepayers for payments on these accounts, the act was repealed. Acland desired a modified application of the principle. He proposed that ‘there should be established, by the authority of parliament, throughout the whole of the kingdom of England, one general club or society’ for the support of the poor in sickness, in old age, and when out of work. With certain exceptions, every adult male or female receiving a certain wage was to be compelled to contribute to this fund, and a similar obligation was imposed on the bulk of the community. In this way pauperism was to be gradually extinguished, and the recipients of aid from the fund might regard themselves as members of a State Friendly Society. There is an abstract of Acland's crude plan in Eden's ‘State of the Poor’ (i. 373–80). It excited considerable attention at a time when the increase of the poor-rate was causing general anxiety. A bill based on Acland's plan was introduced into the House of Commons (see Thomas Gilbert's speech there, 10 Dec. 1787), but came to nothing. Of a second pamphlet by Acland, in refutation of Edward King's attempt to prove the public utility of the national debt, the ‘Gentleman's Magazine’ for November 1796 contains a brief and approving notice. There is no copy of this pamphlet in the library of the British Museum.

Family Communications; Acland's Pamphlet; Parliamentary History, xxi. 1279.]

F. E.

ACLAND, JOHN DYKE (d. 1778), soldier and politician, was the eldest son of Sir Thomas Acland, who married Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Thomas Dyke of Tetton, in Somerset. In the parliament of 1774, which returned a large majority of representatives zealous for a continuance of the struggle with the American colonies, he took his seat for the Cornish borough of Callington, and soon became prominent among the supporters of Lord North's minority for his warm advocacy of strong measures of war. When the prime minister, to the dismay of his more resolute friends, made a conciliatory motion, substantially allowing the colonies to tax themselves, Colonel Acland stepped forth from the ranks and announced that he could not support the government in their action (20 Feb. 1775). The ministerial resolutions were carried in committee by 274 votes to 88; but on the question that the house should agree, he again interposed and condemned them as ‘nugatory and humiliating.’ In the following August he suggested to Lord North that several new corps should be raised; but George III, though highly approving his ‘laudable sentiments as a citizen and soldier,’ discountenanced any such measure, but suggested that Colonel Acland should raise in the west the 200 men required for the augmentation of the 33rd foot, which he had joined as ensign, 23 March 1774, and in which, through the intervention of the king, he purchased a company (23 March 1775). At the opening of the new session (26 Oct.) he moved the address of thanks for the king's speech, and about the same time, as colonel of the first battalion of Devonshire militia, he presented to the king an address from that body, the language of which was severely criticised by Dunning, Fox, and Burke (2 Nov.). Fox adverted to this address at a later date (22 Nov.), when Acland retorted that he was no adventurer or place-hunter, but a gentleman of independent fortune, and Fox fiercely replied that this was the first time any one had taken liberties in the house with his fortune, ‘whether real or ideal,’ and would have continued in his invective had not the members interposed and put an end to the altercation. In the same month of November he agin pressed his plans upon the king, who told the minister that he did not see his way to promoting Colonel Acland in Ireland, but that a majority might perhaps be got for him by purchase. On the whole George III was of opinion that Acland, ‘though a spirited young man,’ was of such exorbitant pretensions that he should be employed in the civil line. In December of the same year he became major of the 20th foot, and went with General Burgoyne's ill-fated expedition to America, where he acquitted himself with great bravery. His adventures are sufficiently described in the memoir of his wife, Lady Harriet Acland.