Page images

Fourthly, Mode
appear upon the case before us, that the overseers of the


considered of relief, &c.

themselves bound to provide work for the unemployed poor, if that were practicable; nor whether they in any way endeavoured to attain that object. Before we determine whether the overseers were or were not justified in giving pecuniary relief to the unemployed poor, the case must go down to the sessions again, that we may be informed whether any, and if any, what endeavours were made to procure employment for them. All that the Court can now say is, that undoubtedly it is the primary duty of the overseers to find employment for the poor if possible (a). And I express that opinion now for the sake of the poor themselves, to whom no greater kindness can be done than by enabling them to earn their own living by labour, instead of suffering them to eat the bread of idleness, by which their habits and morals must soon be corrupted.Bayley, J., suggested, that it was the bounden duty of the overseers to obtain work for the poor if they could, either in or out of their own parish, and it was only in case of inability to procure work, that they would be justified in giving relief in money. Probably this very discussion would rouse overseers of the poor to a sense of their duty in endeavouring to find work for unemployed poor persons. There were several useful modes of employing poor persons, advantageous to the public, such as levelling hills, and improving roads. Within the last few years, a great deal had been done in improving the public highways by this mode of employing poor

labourers. The case was sent back to the sessions to be amended. Parishes may pro

The 59 Geo. III. c. 12, s. 12, after reciting that “whereas by an act vide land for the passed in the 43d year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, the church wardens

and overseers of the poor are directed to set to work certain persons therein described : and whereas by the laws now in force sufficient powers are not given to the churchwardens and overseers, to enable them to keep such persons fully and constantly employed;" enacts, “that it shall be lawful for the church wardens and overseers of the poor of any parish, with the consent of the inhabitants thereof in vestry assembled, to take into their hands any land or ground which shall belong to such parish, or to the churchwardens and overseers of the poor of such parish, or to the poor thereof, or

to purchase, or to hire and take on lease for and on account of the parishi, not exceeding twenty acres.

any suitable portion or portions of land within or near to such parish, not exceeding twenty acres in the whole; and to employ and set to work in the cultivation of such land, on account of the parish, any such persons as by

the poor,

(a) In Strype's Annals of Church and so much more would not serve, nor two State, under Queen Eliz., b. 2, p. 90, such gaols would hold them. But if this there is a letter, which was addressed to money might be employed to build some Lord Treasurer Burghley, by a justice of houses adjoining to the gaol for them to peace for the county of Somerset, which work in, and every prisoner, committed shows that the great evils arising from for any cause and not able to relieve habitsof idleness amongst the poor, began himself, compelled to work, as many of then to be understood, and strengthens them as are delivered upon their trials, the idea that one great object of the le- either by the acquittal of the grand jury gislative provisions for the poor made or petty jury, burning in the hand or about that time, was to prevent able- whipping, presently transferred thence bodied men from being unemployed. to the houses of correction to be kept in After observing upon the great increase work, except some present will take any of crime, and the number of wandering, into service; I dare presume to say the idle vagabonds then committing depre- tenth felony will not be committed that dations in that part of the country, the now is.” This letter also shows that at writer proceeds, and when these lewd that time prisoners committed for trial, people are committed to the gaol, the although they could not be compelled, poor country that is robbed by them are and were not willing to work, were in forced to feed them, which they grieve point of fact in some places supported at

And this year there hath been dis- the expence of the public. It seems, howbursed to the relief of the prisoners in ever, that they could not legally claim to the gaol 731., and yet they allowed but be so maintained. See the case of The 6d, a man weekly. And if they were Justices of the North Riding of Yorkshire, not delivered at every quarter sessions, 2 B. & C. 286. Vol. II. tit. Gaols, &c.


3, .


law they are directed to set to work, and to pay to such of the poor persons Fourthly, Mode so employed as shall not be supported by the parish, reasonable wages for of relief, &c. their work, and the poor persons so emploved shall have such and the like remedies for the recovery of their wages, and shall be subject to such and the like punishment for misbehaviour in their employment, as other labourers in husbandry are by law entitled and subject to."

Sect. 13, provides and enacts, “ that for the promotion of industry And may let poramongst the poor, shall be lawful for the churchwardens and overseers

tions of land to

poor inhabitants. of the poor of any parish, with the consent of the inhabitants in vestry assembled, to let any portion and portions of such parish land as aforesaid, or of the land to be so purchased or taken on account of the parish, to any poor and industrious inhabitant of the parish, to be by him or her occupied and cultivated on his or her own account, and for his or her own benefit, at such reasonable rent and for such term as shall by the inhabitants in vestry be fixed and determined.”

See also sect. 14, post, p. 191.

By 57 Geo. III. c. 34, intituled “ An act to authorise the issue of exche- Advances of quer bills, and the advance of money out of the consolidated fund to a limited money, &c., unamount, for the carrying on of public works and fisheries in the U. K., and employment of the poor of G. B. in manner therein mentioned.

Sect. 29. “It is enacted that no such exchequer bills shall be advanced in Advance not to aid of any parish in G. B. unless the application for such advance shall be be made to made with the consent of not less than the majority in number, and of three parishes, unless fourth parts in value, such value to be calculated and ascertained from the with consent of last rate made for the relief of the poor in such parish, of the persons majority in oum assessed to and paying such rates; or where the poor rates of any parish fourths in value, shall be under the care and management of any select vestry or commis- of persons paying sioners, governors of the poor, trustees or other select body, then with poor-rates; or the consent of not less than four-fifths of such select body, by whatever select vestry, &c., name the same may be called ; such consent to be certified by some justice then with consent of the peace or magistrate acting as such in each parish, and one or more of that body. the overseers of the poor of the parish or place in respect of which the application shall be made.”

Sect. 35, enacts, “that the principal sums contained in the exchequer- Principal sums of bills which shall be advanced or lent by the said commissioners for the exchequer-bills execution of this act in G. B. under the authority of this act, shall be withe interest ito. repaid, without deduction or abatement, together with interest for the same, stalments. by instalments; that is to say, the principal sum in each and every exchequer-bill shall be repaid to the cashier or cashiers of the bank of England at their office, together with interest for the same at and after the rate of five pounds per centum per annum, by the space of fifteen days at least before the time when each such exchequer-bill shall become payable according to the provisions of this act, such interest to be computed on the said principal sum from the date of such exchequer-bill the time of the payment thereof." By 53 Geo. III. c. 124, s. 5, it is enacted, “ that no advance shall be

Regulating admade under the provisions of 57 Geo. III. c. 34, for the use of any parish, vances to township, or place in G. B., in which the amount of the money actually parishes. expended for the relief of the poor, in the year ending at Easter, 1817, or ending at the usual quarter-day immediately preceding Easter, 1817, shall not exceed by three-fourths the average annual amount of the money expended for the relief of the poor for the three years preceding Easter, 1816, or shall not exceed by one-half the amount so expended for the year ending Easter, 1816; any thing in the said act of 57 Geo. III. c. 34, to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding."

Sect. 6, enacts that the principal sums contained in the exchequer-bills Repayment of which shall be advanced or lent by the said commissioners for the execution exchcquer bills. of this act in G. B., under the authority of the recited act (57 Geo. III. c. 34), the payment whereof shall not be otherwise provided for pursuant to the said recited act, shall be repaid without deduction or abatement, together with interest for the same at and after the rate of five pounds per centum per annum, to the cashier or cashiers of the bank of England, at their office,

under recited acts, when di.

vance money

into execution any act for com


Fourthly, Mode by the space of fifteen days at least before the time when each such of relief, &c. exchequer-bill shall become payable according to the provisions of this act;

such interest to be computed on the said principal sum from the date of

such exchequer-bill to the time of payment thereof. Commissinners By 1 Geo. IV. c. 60, and 3 Geo. IV. c. 86, the 57 Geo. III. c. 34, and

c. 124, are continued and amended; and by 5 Geo. IV. c. 77, after reciting rected by the the above acts, it is enacted, “ that it shall be lawful for the commissioners treasury, to ad

for the time being for the execution of 57 Geo. III. c. 34, and of the towards carrying several other acts hereinbefore recited, whenever the said commissioners

shall be directed so to do by any warrant under the hands of any three or pleting works of

more of the said commissioners of the treasury, and the said commissioners general impori- are hereby required to advance and lend any sum or sums of money toward ance and utility. the carrying into execution any act of parliament for making, completing,

or maintaining any works of general public importance and utility, which shall be carried on, under the direction of any commissioners appointed by authority of parliament, on such terms and conditions as shall from time to time be directed by the said commissioners of the treasury or any three

or more of them, any thing in the said recited acts, or any of them contained Interest not to be to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding: Provided always, that the less than the cur. rate of interest payable on such loan or advance, shall not be less than the rent rate payable on exchequer

current rate of interest which shall be payable on exchequer bills at the time

of making such loan or advance." Directions that By 3 W. & M. c. 11, s. 11. “There shall be provided and kept in every names.of persons parish a book, wherein the names of all persons who receive collection shall entered in a book. be registered, with the day and year when they were first admitted to have

relief, and the occasion which brought them under that necessity, and yearly in Easter week, or as often as shall be thought convenient, the parishioners shall meet in the vestry or other usual place of meeting in the parish, before whom the book shall be produced, and all persons receiving collection to be called over, and the reasons of their taking relief examined, and a new list made and entered of such persons as they shall think fit and allow to receive collection."

Sect. 11. “And no other person shall be allowed to receive collection at relieved, but by the charge of the parish, but by authority under the hand of one justice order of the jus- residing within such parish, or (if none be there dwelling) in the parts near

or next adjoining, or by order of the justices in sessions, except in cases of pestilential diseases, plague, or small-pox, for such families only as shall

be therewith infected.” No order of relief And by 9 Geo. I. c. 7, s. 1. “ No justice shall order relief to any poor to be made but on oath, &c.

person, until oath be made before him of some matter, which he shall judge to be a reasonable cause for having such relief; and that the same person had by himself, or some other, applied for relief to the parishioners at some vestry or other public meeting, or to two of the overseers, and was by them refused to be relieved : and until such justice hath summoned two of the overseers to show cause why such relief should not be given, and the person so summoned hath been heard or made default to appear.” See

36 Geo. III. c. 23, and 55 Geo. III. c. 137, s. 3, post, p. 194. Overseer not to Sect. 2. “And the person whom such justice shall think fit to order to be relieve others relieved shall be entered in such book, as one of those who is to receive except on sudden collection, as long as the cause for such relief continues, and no longer

. occasions. And no officer shall (except upon sudden and emergent occasions) bring to

the account of the parish, any money he shall give to any poor person of the same parish who is not registered in such book as a person entitled to receive collection, on pain of 51. by distress, by warrant of two justices, who shall have examined into and found him guilty of such offence; which said sum shall be applied to the use of the poor by direction of the justices

. Every order for By 59 Geo. III. c. 12, s. 5, it is enacted, " that every order to be made, relief, in parishes after the 1st day of May, 1819, for the relief of any poor person, by the lect vestry, shall churchwardens and overseers of the poor of any parish not having a select be made by two vestry, under the authority of this act, shall be made by two or more jusor more justices, tices, who shall, in making every such order, take into their consideration emergency.

the character and conduct of the person applying for relief; provided that

No others to be


in every such order the special cause of granting the relief thereby directed Fourthly, Mode shall be expressly stated, and that no such order shall be given for or of relief, &c. extend to any longer time than one month from the date thereof: Provided also, that in cases of emergency and urgent distress, it shall be lawful for one justice to order such relief as the case shall require, stating in his order the circumstances of the case; but no such last-mentioned order shall Limitation of entitle any person to claim relief by virtue thereof more than fourteen days order. from the date of the order, nor shall the same have any force or effect after the next petty sessions to be holden within the hundred or other division or district in which the parish to which the same shall apply shall be situated.”

See also s. 12 and 13, ante, 176; s. 26, ante, 165; and s. 27, and s. 36, under Incorporated Districts, post.

The 8 & 9 W. c. 30, s. 2, relating to badging the poor, is repealed by Badges repealed. 50 Geo. III. c. 52.

And see 54 Geo. III. c. 170, s. 7; and 56 Geo. III. c. 129, s. 2, post, 197.

Poor and Not Able to Work (a).] Rex. v. The Inhabitants of Hayworth or the order must Highworth, 1 Str. 10; 1 Bott, 460. There was an order to pay 3s. weekly express that the to a poor person, by the parish of Highworth, so long as he shall continue lent as well as poor. It was objected, that by the statute it ought to appear that the person poor. relieved is poor and impotent.-Parker, C. J. I favour these orders as much as I can, because nobody takes care to draw them up for the poor. But it must be quashed.

On the authority of this case, in Rex v. Stoke Ursey, an order was quashed for the same fault. So in Rex v. Tipper, on an order to maintain a daughterin-law. 1 Bott, 460.

Rer v. John Fearnley, 1 T. R. 316; 1 Leach, 425 ; 1 Bott, 471; 2 Nol. On an order for P. L. 265, 374. This was a demurrer to an indictment found against relief weckly, the Fearnley, who was overseer of the poor of the township of Checkheaton, for beginning of the disobeying an order of two justices, for the payment of 1s. 6d. a week to week. Sarah Firth, for the maintenance of herself and her bastard child. One objection was, there was a mistake in the caption of the sessions where the indictment was found, the word July being inserted instead of October, which the Court adjudged to be fatal. It was also objected, that as the money was ordered to be paid weekly, the defendant could not be guilty of any disobedience before the expiration of the first week. But the Court were of opinion, that the sum which was ordered to be paid weekly was due at the beginning of the week.

Por the Necessary Relief.] Rex v. Colbitch, 1 Barnard. 46. An order of Sessions have no sessions was made upon the overseers of this parish, that they should pay power to order a surgeon his bill for curing certain poor under their care. The Court said, surgeons' bills to that the sessions have no power to make such orders, and so quashed it.

Rex v. Woodsterton, 2 Barnard. 207, 247; 1 Bott, 464; 2 Nol. P. L. 356. An order was made by two justices upon the officers of the parish nor the justices. of Woodsterton for paying 51. upon account of a poor inhabitant of that parish, when he was in goal, and likewise for paying a surgeon's bill that was due upon his account; which order was confirmed at the sessions. It was moved to quash these orders. And upon shewing cause it was urged, that the justices have only power to order parish officers to relieve a poor inhabitant where it is fit he ought to be relieved. But in the present case the parish officers have actually given the party relief. They employed a surgeon and a nurse to take care of him. The surgeon and nurse have a proper remedy by way of action against the officers; and the justices have no pretence to interfere in this manner. And the Court were of opinion that these orders should be quashed. See Casual Poor, post.

But medical assistance is within the meaning of relief, as understood and Medical assistused in the poor laws, and an overseer is bound to supply such relief to a pauper labouring under a dangerous illness, though out of the workhouse,

be paid;


(a) With respect to persons able, but not willing to work, see stat. 5 Geo. IV.,

c. 83, ante, 172, and title, Cagrants.

Overseers em

tain cases, by

Fourthly, Mode and not having previously had relief. Per Holroyd, J., Rex v. Warren, of relief, &c. Worcester Lent Ass. 1820. See Casual Poor, post.

A stranger, and, a fortiori, a deputy overseer, directing a surgeon to attend a pauper, is liable, in respect of his retainer, to pay the surgeon's bill. But a deputy overseer is not liable unless he has expressly retained the surgeon. Watling v. Walters, 1 Carr. & P. 132.

59 Geo. III. c. 12, s. 29, after reciting, that it is expedient to discourage powered, in cer.

that reliance upon the 'poor's rates which frequently induces artisans, direction of jns- labourers, and others, to squander away earnings which would, with suitable tices, &c., to give care, have afforded sufficient means for the support of their families, enacts, relief by way of loan only.

“ that whenever it shall appear to the justices, or to the general or select vestry, or to such guardians, governors, or directors as aforesaid, or to the overseers of the poor, to whom application shall be made for relief for any poor person, that he might, but for his extravagance, neglect, or wilful misconduct, have been able to maintain himself, or to support his family (as the case may be), it shall be lawful for the overseers of the poor (by the direction of the justices, or of the general or select vestry, or of such guardians, governors or directors, where application shall have been made to them respectively) to advance money weekly, or otherwise, as may be requisite, to the person so applying, by way of loan only, and to take his receipt for, and engagement to repay every sum to be so advanced (for which no siamp duty shall be required); and it shall be lawful for any two justices, upon the application (within one year after any such loan or loans) of one or more of the overseers of the poor for the time being of the parish, to summon the person to whom any money shall have been so advanced; and if upon examination by such justices into his circumstances, it shall appear to them that such person is able, by weekly instalments or otherwise, to repay the whole or any part of the money so advanced to him, and for which he shall have given any such receipt and engagement, it shall be lawful for such justices to make an order under their hands and seals for the repayment of the whole or of any part of such money, at such time and times, and in such proportions and manner as they shall see fit; and upon every default of payment, by their warrant to commit such person to the common gaol or house of correction, for any time not exceeding three calendar months, unless the sum and sums which shall be due and payable by virtue of such order shall be sooner paid.”

Sect. 30 enacts, “ that when any person entitled to or in receipt of any vice in the navy, pension, superannuation, or other allowance, in respect of his service in the army, &c., may

navy, royal marines, army, or ordnance, shall apply to any parish for relief, be assigned in

for himself, or for his wife or family, it shall be lawful for the churchwardens the indemnity of and overseers of the poor to require the pensioner or other person applying parishes.

for relief, before the same shall be granted, to assign to them the next quarterly or other payment or allowance which shall become payable to him, to the intent that they may receive the same, and retain for the use of the parish so much thereof as shall have been by them advanced for the relief of such pensioner or other person, or of his wife or family residing with him in such parish; and it shall also be lawful for the churchwardens and overseers of the poor of any parish, at the request of any person who shall be entitled to or in the receipt of any such pension, superannuation, or other allowance, to advance for his support, or the support of his family, any weekly sum not exceeding the rate of his pension or allowance, to be repaid by and out of the next quarterly or other payment of such pension or allowance, and to take an assignment thereof by way of security for the money so to be advanced, any thing in any act or acts to the contrary notwithstanding; and every assi ent to be made of any such pension, superannuation, or allowance, for the purposes of this act, shall be exempt from stamp duty, and shall be in the form or to the effect following; that is

Pensions for ser

certain cases for

to say,

Form of assignment.

I [naming the pensioner, or other applicant, and stating such particulars as shall be requisite,] do hereby assign to the churchwardens and overseers of the poor of the parish of the next payment of the pension, at the rate of per diem, [or, as the case may be,] granted to me as and payable from in order to

« PreviousContinue »