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sessions, on appeal, quashed the order, subject to the
opinion of this Court upon the following case :The King
The pauper's first recollections were of his being in the TROWBRIDGE. workhouse at Chatham. He supposed he might be then
about four or five years old. He never knew his father, and his mother was not in the workhouse with him.
He stayed in the workhouse till he was thirteen or fourteen, when he entered on board a man of war, and served in various ships till the year 1814. He then went to Trowbridge, and married there. Being out of work at Trowbridge, he went with his wife to the workhouse at Chatham, where he stayed more than three weeks, during which time he was maintained there by the parish of Chatham ; and, on going away, was furnished by the parish officers of Chatham with 11. in money, and a pair of shoes for him and his wife, to return to Trowbridge. He returned there, and remained there about ten years, when, being again out of work, he went to Chatham again, with his wife and family, where he again stayed about three weeks in the workhouse; and while there was again maintained by Chatham, and received 11. in money, and a pair of shoes for him, his wife, and each of his children, and provisions to return to Trowbridge ; at the same time he was desired by the Chatham overseers not to return to Chatham again, without an order or a pass. He then returned to Trowbridge, at which place he was afterwards relieved, and thereupon removed, by order of the magistrates, to Chatham. The parish registers of Chatham were searched by the pauper, but no entry was found of his baptism, nor of any persons bearing his name.
Bingham and Awdry, in support of the order of sessions. The sessions were right. There was no sufficient evidence of a settlement in Chatham. Relief is no evidence of settlement; at least, it is not conclusive evidence. It was held, in Rex v. Chatham (a), that giving parish
(a) 8 East, 498.
relief to a pauper within the parish, was no evidence of his settlement there; and in that instance the relief was administered at one time for a fortnight, and at another time for a longer period, in the parish work house. That is a direct authority to shew, that the relief given to this pauper by the parish officers of Chatham, is no evidence of his being settled there. Then there was no other evidence; for no registry of his baptism could be found at Chatham : and if he had been born in the work house of that parish, it is impossible to doubt that he would have been baptized there. The register of baptism is not indeed alone, sufficient evidence of the place of a person's birth, Rer v. North Petherton (a), and yet, in that case, the pauper must have been on the spot, and have undergone an important ceremony there : but a person must be presumed to have been baptized somewhere ; and the natural further presumption seems to be, that he was born in the parish in which he appears to have been baptized. Again, no entry was found at Chatham of any person bearing the pauper's name; a fact which furnishes a very strong presumption, that he was not of a Chatham family. Considering Chatham as a depôt of soldiers and sailors, who are continually fluctuating, arriving there from all parts of the world, with their wives and children, and, after a short stay, again departing, nothing can be more probable than that this pauper was the offspring of such parents, born and baptized in some distant, perhaps foreign, place, and brought there, and soon afterwards deserted there by those to whom he belonged. This is a mere question of presumption ; and this short view of the case clearly shews, that all the presumptions that can arise from the facts, are against the idea of the pauper's being settled at Chatham. But, whatever view the Court may take of the case, they cannot overturn the decision of the sessions. The question before them was one of fact, which it was peculiarly within their province to decide;
(a) 8 D. & R. 325. 5 B. & C. 508.
they have decided it, and this Court cannot interfere. Rer v. Chatham (a).
Merewether, Serjt., contrà. The authority of the case of Rer v. Chatham, and the propriety of the doctrine there laid down, respecting the effect of relief as evidence of a settlement, cannot be impugned; but the present case is very distinguishable from that, and therefore cannot be governed by it. The facts here found, that the pauper's first recollections were of being in Chatham workhouse, when he was four or five years old, and that he remained there, supported by the parish, until he was thirteen or fourteen years old, are decisive to shew that his settlement is in that parish. The old rule of law is, that where the place of birth, and of the parents' settlement, are unknown, the first known place of abode of the child, is the place of settlement, Dalton, c. 23; and it was laid down distinctly, by Lord Holt, in Banbury v. Broughton (b), that the parish in which a child is first found must provide for it, until they can find a prior settlement for it elsewhere. Now, the present case falls completely within these rules; for Chatham, being the first known place of the pauper's abode, and that parish having maintained him for a long course of years, the only reasonable presumption to be drawn is, that he was born there; and the consequence will be, that he is settled there. The principle upon which it has been held, that relief is no evidence of a settlement in the relieving parish, seems to be, that it may have been administered to the individual as casual poor, which is an act of duty and necessity. Thus, where a case from the sessions only stated the bare fact of a pauper's having received relief from the respondent parish, it was held that this was not even primâ facie evidence of a settlement there, since he might have been so relieved as casual poor, which the overseers were bound to do, if wanted, whether the
pauper were settled there or not. Rex v. Chatterton (c). (a) 8 East, 498. (6) Comb. 364. (c) 2 East, 27.
The doctrine, then, cannot apply to cases where there are facts to shew that the relief was not given to the pauper as casual poor, or as an act of necessity, which there are here ; and much less can it apply where the relief is continued even while the pauper is in another parish, which it may fairly be said to have been here ; for the repeatedly supplying the pauper with money, clothes, and provisions, for his journey from Chatham to Trowbridge, was in effect relieving him in Trowbridge ; and, coupled with the repeatedly receiving and relieving him at Chatham, upon coming thither from Trowbridge, amounted to a complete admission that he belonged to Chatham, and was settled there. With respect to the argument that this Coart have no jurisdiction in this case, it is wholly unfounded, for the sessions have not dealt with this as a mere question of fact; they have decided, erroneously, as is now submitted, that a particular legal authority was applicable to this case, and it is perfectly competent for this Court to review that decision.
BAYLEY, J.-If the decision in the case of Rer v. Chatham (a) is law, which seems not to be denied, relief is no evidence of a settlement in the relieving parish ; and then the sessions could not act upon the evidence of the relief by Chatham, and have come to the right conclusion, in holding that there was no proof of the pauper's being settled at Chatham. It does not, however, appear to me in the present case necessary to say, that relief is no evidence of a settlement ; because, admitting that there was some evidence of a settlement at Chatham, the effect of that evidence was, a question for the sessions to decide : and as they have decided it, and the facts of the case do not, in my opinion, shew that their decision was wrong, I think we ought not to interfere to disturb it. The pauper is first found in the workhouse, at Chatham. By what means he came there, does not appear. Until they could
(a) 8 East, 498.
ascertain that he had a settlement elsewhere, the parish
officers of Chatham were bound to maintain him. In a The King 0.
case like this, the discovering another place of settlement TROWBRIDGE.
was an extremely difficult thing, and the fact of Chatham relieving the pauper in the interval, was no evidence, or at least not conclusive evidence, of his being settled there. In process of time the pauper became settled at Trowbridge, and received relief from that parish. He afterwards revisited Chatham; but how did the officers of Chatham then act? They relieved him, undoubtedly, and supplied him with money, provisions, and clothes; but for what purpose ? For the purpose of returning him to Trowbridge, and at the same time telling him not to come to Chatham again, without an order or a pass. I think it is impossible to say that relief given by Chatham, under snch circumstances, and for such a purpose, was relief given to the pauper in Trowbridge, or was any admission that he was settled and belonged to Chatham; if it had been, it would have been conclusive against the latter parish ; but as it seems to me, it had no such effect. I cannot concur in the argument that the mere fact of a pauper being first found in a particular parish, is presumptive evidence of his having been born there ; and if the cases that have been referred to, go that length, I, for one, must be allowed to doubt their authority. Upon the whole view of this case I am of opinion, that the sessions have come to a right conclusion, and, therefore, that their order ought to be confirmed.
HOLROYD, J., and LittLEDALE, J., concurred.
Order of Sessions confirmed.