Download PDF by Paul Slack: The English Poor Law 1531–1782

By Paul Slack

ISBN-10: 0333348699

ISBN-13: 9780333348697

ISBN-10: 1349067202

ISBN-13: 9781349067206

One in a sequence of works commissioned by means of the commercial historical past Society that are meant to supply present interpretations of key subject matters of monetary and social heritage. This quantity discusses the goals, implementation, statutes and eventual failure and reform of the English negative Law.

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Extra resources for The English Poor Law 1531–1782

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Thirdly, there was the problem of the generous or inefficient overseer: how should he be supervised and how could he be prevented from taking the easy course of providing casual doles or regular pensions to all who applied? The three problems overlapped in the continuing debate. It will perhaps aid clarity, however, if we separate them in what follows . (i) ENTITLEMENT AND SETTLEMENT It was generally accepted in the later seventeenth and eight- eenth centuries that the poor had a right to relief in cases of extreme necessity, or 'indigency', as it came to be termed.

R. Mitchell and P. Deane, AbstractofBritishHistorical Statistics (Cambridge, 1971), p. 488. Column 4 is based on the assumption that one quarter of wheat would feed one person for a year. But local reductions seem always to have been outweighed by increasing expenditure elsewhere, so that the gross national total was always rising, as Table I suggests. Column I gives the only contemporary estimates of relief expenditure in which we can place much confidence. The Board of Trade's calculation for 1696, though based on extrapolation from partial returns, seems likely to be closer to the truth than other, higher, figures sometimes given for the later seventeenth century.

First, it is argued that it created an expensive bureaucratic maze, an unnecessary burden alike on justices of the peace, parish officers and the poor. Secondly, it is said that this heavyweight bureaucracy was a harmful brake on mobility, hampering the movement of population from areas where labour was in surplus to areas where it was required. One only needs to look at any collection of parish or county records to appreciate the force of the first charge. Parishes had to keep bundles of settlement certificates and approach justices for removal orders; sessions had to hear appeal after appeal against removal and deal with disputes between parishes.

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The English Poor Law 1531–1782 by Paul Slack


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