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perhap3 be formed by a reference fund, in order to relieve particular to the sims expended in litigation, places from the pressure which and the removal of paupers at might in that case arise from an different periods. These sums accumulated number of paupers. amounted in 1776, to 35,0721.; But believing (for reasons which in 1786, to 35,7911.; in 1803, have been stated in a former part 190,0721; in 1815, 287,000l. And of this Report, to which it more it appears that the appeals against properly belongs,) that transferring orders of removal, entered at the these funds from parishes to the four last quarter sessions, amount government, would be on various to about 4,7001. Great however as grounds in the highest degree inthe inconvenience confessedly is expedient, the committee cannot of this constant and increasing li- but feel, that as long as a provitigation, there are still other effects sion for the poor is raised by comof the law of settlement, which it pulsory parochial assessments, is yet more important to correct;
must continue to such are the frauds so frequently exist of assigning them to their committed by those who are in- respective parochial limits; and trusted to prevent even the pro- they are satisfied, that something bability of a burthen being brought short of a total repeal of the law on their parish; and such are the of settlement, yet going further measures, justifiable undoubtedly than all the various minor alterain point of law, which are adopted tions which have been suggested very generally in many parts of from different parts of the kingthe kingdom, to defeat the obtain- dom, would simplify the law so ing a settlement: the most com much, as to reduce subject of mon of these latter practices is litigation to a very few questions that of hiring labourers for a less of fact, place the maintenance of period than a year ; from whence those who want relief upon a far it naturally and necessarily follows, more just and equitable footing, that a labourer may spend the and at the same time consult in season of his health and industry the greatest degree the comfort in one parish, and be transferred and happiness of the poor themin the decline of life to a distant selves. With these views, your part of the kingilom. If the means committee recommend, that in cannot be found of wholly re future any person residing three moving both the mischief of liti- years in a parish, without being gation, and the hardship that in absent more than months in particular and not unfrequent in- each year, and without being in stances attends the operation of any manner chargeable, should this part of the law, still the com obtain a settlement in such parish ; mittee hope much may be done to and to prevent as far as possible mitigate both.
The entire abro- this faet becoming the source of gation of the law of settlement such litigation as frequently arises, has indeed been suggested, and from the difficulty of ascertaining the suggestion has generally been the most simple facts, by the eviaccompanied with a proposal to dence of the paupers themselves, maintain the poor from a national it might be permitted that after
such residence was completed, a distance from the farms which deposition of the fact might be they cultivate, would tend, it is made by the party before two jus. hoped, to counteract the evil ; for tices, after notice given to the it is chiefly from motives of this overseers. Your committee are sort, that such tenements are in persuauled, that if service was re many instances at present upheld. quired to be combined with resi It will, however, be for the House dence, it would not only render to consider whether the advantages the provision complicated, but resulting from such a change are would prevent a settlement being not calculated to counterbalance acquired within either of the pa this, which the committee deem rishes in which the person serves the only substantial objection to or resides. And it is reconimended, the alteration; recollecting always, that no person, from a day to be that inconveniences must be innamed, shall acquire a settlement, separable from such a compulsory by renting a tenement, serving an provision for the poor, as exists office, hiring and service for a in this part of the United Kingyear, apprenticeship or estate. dom alone. With respect to such poor persons
Your committee, however, may who, not being natives of Eng. cite, in support of their opinion, land, may be without a settlement, the authority of the aci urate and the influx of them to particular judicious author of the History of places has been so great and op the Poor Laws, who says, pressive, that the committee think must be owned, the statute of the provision should be made fur pass 13th and 14th Car. II. hath exing such persons, upon their ap ceeded, perhaps, the due bounds. plication for parochial relief, to If alterations should be thought the nearest ports or places, from requisite, it is submitted, whether which they may return to their it might not be reasonable to renative country; but that any na duce the settlement to where it tive of the British Empire shall was before that statute, to wit, to acyuire a settlement in any parish the place
the place of birth, or of inhain which he may have resided five bitancy for one or more years. years without being chargeable. For so long as this was the plain
It is not to be supposed that simple settlement, there were very such an abrogation in future of few disputes in the courts of law the 13th and 14th Car. II. and all about settlements. It was the easy that has been built upon that sta method of obtaining a settlement tute, can be wholly exempt from by residency of forty days, that inconvenience : but the only ob- brought parishes into a state of jection that has appeared entitled war against the poor, and against to serious consideration, is founded one another; and caused the subon an apprehension that it might seqnent restrictive statutes to be tend to the reduction of the num- made ; all which would fall, of ber of cottages, a consequence course, by reducing the settlement which would be undoubtedly mich to its ancient (and indeed most to be lamented; but the inconve- natural) standard." nience of driving labourers to a To state the advantages attend
ing the alteration fairly, it is ne settlement by estate, it is obvious, cessary to direct the attention of besides the question of value, the House to the sort of questions which, in case of purchase, must which arise out of each of the amount bonâ fide to 301. involves heads of settlement proposed to be necessarily some of the most intriabrogated.
cate questions respecting real pro In the case, for instance, of a perty and testamentary bequests settlement being supposed to be and devises. The committee are acquired by renting a tenement of persuaded they need do no more the annual value of 101. the ques- than refer to these several heads tion in dispute generally respects of litigation to shew its extent ; the value. If it may be really not and that minor alterations in any far from that sum, and the family of these, while each head of setof the pauper be numerous, the tlement is retained, would only interests of the contending parishes, lead to new questions. It has, for supported by the conflicting opi- instance, been suggested, that the nion of their respective surveyors, rent of the tenement should be leads to the utmost expense and substituted for its value ; but the extremity of litigation.
question would then be shifter, But this question of fact has not and every agreement for a rent a been the only subject of dispute little above or a little below 101. The kind of tenement, and the would be impugned as collusive. nature of the tenure, will be found, Raising the sum from 101. to 201. by a reference to the reports of has been also suggested, and would the King's Bench, to have given have its advantages by diminishing rise to the most difficult and nu- litigation; but it would at the nierous questions; the same re same time increase the difficulty ference will afford a still greater of changing a settlement, and, variety of intricate questions, and consequently, of permitting skill of conflicting decisions, respecting and labour to find its best market. hiring and service; as to who may It has been proposed also to the be hired as servants ; what the committee from various quarters, contract of hiring, whether gene- that under the head of hiring and ral, special, customary, retro- service, a contract of hiring should spective, conditional, personal ; be dispensed with, and service for hiring' service in different places, a year confer a settlement. But with different masters; of marriage your committee fear, that the same during the service; and absence means which are now successfully froni service.
adopted to prevent a settlement The settlement by serving an from being obtained under this apprenticeship has also its various head, would in that case operate decisions, arising out of the nature more prejudicially to the labourer, of the binding, the time of the by preventing his remaining a service, the place of the service, year in one place ; at present he the discharging the indentures, can do so, under successive hirand the service with different mas- ings, for a shorter period. If these ters, the execution of indentures, apprehensions are well founded, and slamps. The last head of the change would be most preju
dicial to him, and so impolitic in only execute in sessions, of makits effects, as to counteract anying orders of maintenance on near advantage which could be derived relations. from such diminution of litigation. That a power should also be These are among the reasons for given to enable overseers to rewhich the committee suppose that cover, by a summary process, the no alteration, short of that which possession of tenements which they venture to propose, would they may have rented and used for have the effect of removing the the accomodation of the poor, evil of litigation incident to the without being driven to the tedipresent law of settlement. But it ous and expensive proceeding by is to the labouring class of the way of ejectment. community that they conceive this Your committee moreoverthink, great alteration would be must that the vexation and expense of beneficial. It would insure their removals might, in some instances, being maintained where they had be saved, by an arrangement for maintained themselves; where they postponing the execution of the would be more likely, if inerito- order, till after a final decision in rious persons, to experience in case of appeal. case of need the kindness of real It is also suggested, that the benevolence. It is hoped also that power given by the Mutiny Act it might operate as an inducement (vide 56 Geo. Ill. cap. 10, sect. to active and faithful service on 70,)“ to any justice of the peace, the one hand, and on the other, to where any soldier shall be quarterprevent such service being inter- ell, in case such soldier have either rupted by an interested consi- wife, child, or children, to exderation for parochial funds. And amine such soldier as to the place they propose this alteration with of his last legal settlement, and the more confidence, because they which requires him to give an atthereby recoinnend the restoration tested copy to such soldier, of any of that law, which was coeval with affidavit made by him in this reparochial contributions, whether spect, in order to be produced voluntary or compulsory; and when required; and which probecause it is still the existing law vides that such attested copy shall in that part of the United King- be at any time admitted in evidom, Scotland, where the local dence, as to such last legal settlemanagement and maintenance of ment," be extended to any person the poor has been best conducted. confined in any gaol or place of
There are some other sugges- safe custody in Great Britain, protions of inferior importance, which vided that such copy of the examihave not found a place in the fore nation shall not be admitted in going part of the Report, to which evidence after the discharge of your committee would refer be- such prisoner. fore they conclude their observa By the act 29 Geo. III. c. 83, it tions.
is provided, that when any appliIt appears desirable, that jus. cation shall be made to a justice tices out of sessions should have of the peace for relief, such justice the power, which they can now shall not summon the guardian,
unless application shall have been riod of depression and distress first made by the applicant to the may bring out more prominently guardian, and if he refuses redress, the weak and unsound parts of to the visitor. In incorporated the system, it is obvious that the parishes, the visitor is frequently application of the most effectual from ten to fifteen miles distant reinedies is at such a n:onient of from the residence of the pauper,
than ordinary difficulty. and frequently absent from home. And if it should be the pleasure of Some ulteration in the law appears the House that the consideration necessary to obviate this incon- of this subject should be resumed venience.
in the next session of parliament, Your committee have thus stated no inconsiderable advantage will tu the House the result of a la- be derived from that mass of inborious investigation, which has formation contained in the returns been protracted to a period of the in 1815, to which they have not session which precludes their pro- yet bad access, and from a further posing at present such legislative valuable accession of detailed acenactments as it might be thought counts of the admirable practice fit to adopt. They cannot, how- of Scotland. ercr, regret this circumstance; July 4, 1817. for, conceiving that the House expected at their hands a general revision of the whole system of The Committee appointed to examine our Poor Laws, in which, though the several Petitions, which have it be not difficult to point out in been preseni ed tothe Mouse against conveniences and mischiefs, yet the Employment of Boys in sweepthe task of providing practical re
ing Chimneys; and who were emmedies is so arduous that your
powered to report the same, with committee is persuaded, that even
their Opinion and Observations more time and labour would not
thereupon, together with the Mihave been inispent in considering
nutes of the Evidence taken before further the various provisions of
then ;-having examined Evithe law, and the numerous pro
dence upon the sulject, have agreed posals which, from different quar to the following Report. ters, have been submitted to their judgment. The House also will Your committee have felt it not be called upon to adopt any their duty, in the first place, to of the suggestions of this Report, inquire into the laws that at pretill an ample opportunity will have sent regulate the tradeof chimneybeen afforded to correct any errors sweeping; and they find, that in in the judgment of your commit- the year 1788 an act of parliament tee, or to cortirm their opinions : (28 Geo. 111. chap. 48.) was passand this delay will above all be sa. ed, entitled, “ An Act for the betlutary, if the lapse of time, aided ter regulation of Chimney-sweepby a more favourable season, ers and their Apprentices." To should restore the kingdom in the preamble of which, they wish some degree to its wonted and to direct the attention of the bealthy state. For, though a pe- House :-- Whereas the laws now