« PreviousContinue »
the second return was made of the unemployed children, 242 appear to have been put out either to apprenticeship, or to some other sort of service; for the question had been repeatedly agitated by parishes at their vestries, and overseers began by this time to feel the importance of this measure.
The two first returns of the unemployed children were not so exact as was expected, and it was not till January 180g, that a regular return was made, agreeably to a printed form prepared for that purpose. * This form had been sent round to every
* The following is the form alluded to. The Overseers Return of the State of the Poor Children in the Parish of 180
Names of children put out either as Apprentices of Age. Servants.
Residence of the Masters
For what Term.
Names of Children fit
parish, with instructions to the overseers to
fill up the same with care; and with an injunction that at their going out of office, they
should give correct copies to their successors in office, that they might at one view see the state of the unemployed poor children of their parish, and might use all diligence in constantly carrying this salutary measure into effect.
By the month of April 1803, the number of children, which had been put out in addition to those which had been put out before appears to have been
By the month of April, 1804, an
additional number of
By the month of April, 1805, an additional number of
Thus in the course of four years 788 children have been put out to apprenticeship or service, of whom many, but for this regulation, would probably have been an useless burden to society, and many, for want of constant employment, would have been
vicious and profligate. The system continues to be pursued, and there is reason to hope that it will be productive of the most beneficial consequence to the community.
The provisions of the 43 Eliz. have been thought too severe for the present day, inasmuch as they require an apprenticeship of a boy and girl to be for seven years, or until they are 21 years of age, which may be a much longer period; a term which would in many instances be inconvenient both to the master and servant. The great object being to make the children industrious and useful, it was considered that this end might be attained by a service of a shorter duration. Accordingly it has been in some parishes adopted as a rule, that each house-keeper in his turn should take a poor boy or girl, and instruct such boy or girl in the duty or employment of a servant for one year; or that if he found it inconvenient to take such a child himself, he should be bound to provide the
child with a situation in some respectable
In other parishes, the same end has been attained by an apprenticeship for a short time, with a small premium paid out of the poor rates; such persons to whom it should be inconvenient to take an apprentice in their turn, being made subject to a small fine, which fine was to be given with the child to be put out, to the person who was next in rotation to take an apprentice; and if such second person should decline taking an apprentice, the fine paid by such person, together with the former fine, was to be given to the third in rotation, and so on, till the child to be placed out was provided for. The means of carrying this measure into effect has been left to the regulation of each parish, but the system, more or less, has been adopted in all.
15th February, 1806.
Extract from an Account of the Bath Society for the Suppression of Vagrants, the Relief of Distress, and Encouragement of Industry. By J. S. Duncan, Esq.
On the 20th of January 1805, there was in
serted in the Bath papers an address to the Inhabitants and visitors of Bath and its environs, requesting them to abstain from casual alms to common beggars; and, on any such application, to give a ticket referring to an office then opened" for inquiring into cases “of distress, detecting imposture, and di"recting charity to its proper object." A society of ladies and gentlemen was at the same time formed for carrying the plan into execution, and letters, with tickets, were printed and distributed throughout the city of Bath.