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2d. TO AUTHORIZE THE PETTY SESSIONS, UPON THE NOMINATION OF THE PARISH-VESTRY,
TO APPOINT AN ASSISTANT OVERSEER, WITH A SALARY.
It is proposed that it shall be optional in the vestry, at their Easter meeting, to return, or not to return, one of their parishioners to the petty sessions, for appointment as assistant overseer, with a salary to be specified in the return. If such return is made, it will then rest with the petty sessions, in case they think the person fit and the appointment expedient, to make the appointment. Such assistant would of course enter into a recognizance, with two sureties, for his conduct, and would act in tonformity to the joint direction of the other overseers. His duty would be to keep the accounts, attend the magistrates, and execute the detail of the office. The parochial return of an assistant overseer is proposed to be optional; as out of all the parishes in England, there may not be a third part, that will require such an appointment: but in the larger and more populous parishes, which do actually require such an assistant, it is very essential, that the
peculiar care of the poor, and the detail of all the concerns of the parish, should not be forced upɔn annual overseers, already pretty fully occupied with their own private concerns.
3d. TO ESTABLISH BENEFIT FUNDS, IN EACH PARISH, FOR THE SICK AND AGED.
This, which was also an object of Mr. Pitt's Bill, is proposed to be open to all residents, whether male or female, and settled or not settled, in the parish. The calculations should be in favour of the subscribers, and the purchase monies invested in the funds; the deficiency, if any, being supplied from the parish rates. This would offer to the poor man a more certain and a more unexceptionable friendly society, than any now existing; and would also enable the industrious female, to secure an unalienable provision for herself, against age, sickness, or widowhood. Some deficiency in the funds might eventually occur: but it will hardly be necessary to prove, that the expense of providing for that deficiency, could never amount to a tenth part of what is now incurred, in supporting aged, infirm, and widowed pensioners, who have had no inducement to
adopt a system of saving, and providing for themselves. Some regulation must be made as to residents not settled in the parish. With regard to these, I would submit that, in case of their necessarily quitting the parish, their subscription money should be returned them with interest.
4th. THAT SUBSCRIPTIONS TO THIS PARISH FUND, IN CERTAIN CASES AND AFTER A CERTAIN PERIOD, SHALL GIVE THE SUBSCRIBER A SETTLEMENT IN THE PARISH.
This should be confined to resident labourers, generally working within the parish; and not having large families, or having become chargeable. That no continued period of residence, and no extent of active industry supporting itself by its own exertions, should ever entitle the individual to the claim of a parishioner, is more than I apprehend any person will maintain: and that a short term of residence, and a limited period of labour, should fix a man and his numerous family, as settled inhabitants, of a parish, is more than will, in any probability, be proposed. I should prefer the line adopted in Mr. Pitt's Bill; and make five years subscrip
tion to the parish fund, without parish relief, in the case of the labourer residing and generally working within the parish and not having more than three children, intitle him and his family* to a settlement.
5th. THAT LABOURERS, SUBSCRIBING TO THE PARISH FUND, BE EXEMPTED FROM POORSRATES FOR THEIR COTTAGES AND GARDENS.
The practice of parishes, in this respect, is as various as their soil and climate. In some, the exemption is carried to an extreme. In others, the most painful part of the magistrates duty, is to hear and adjudge questions, of poor's-rates being levied on individuals, just removed from the rank of paupers, and perhaps, by the levy of the rate, to be reduced to that situation. That an Act should have been made for the relief of the poor, and that, in its construction, it should call on and compel the industrious poor, out of their earnings, to
The charge of moving paupers from parish to parish is considerable; but it bears no comparison with the national loss of productive labour, by the artisan or labourer being moved from a place where he can get work, to one where he cannot obtain it.
contribute to the maintenance of the idle poor, appears to be monstrous and absurd. The execution of the Act should, in any event, be brought to one rule throughout the kingdom; and the least that can be done, in my humbleopinion, will be to give exemption to those labourers, who are making an annual prospective provision for their own subsistence, in case of age, sickness, or calamity.
6th. THAT NO CONTRACT FOR FARMING THE POOR OF A PARISH, OR THE WORKHOUSE, BE VALID, UNTIL APPROVED BY THE PETTY SESSIONS OF THE DISTRICT, AND THE CONTRACTOR HAS ENTERED INTO A RECOGNIZANCE, FOR THE DUE PERFORMANCE OF HIS DUTY.
Experience has produced some cases, in which the farming of workhouses has contributed, not merely to the increase of industry, but even to the better management and the more orderly conduct of the poor. There are, however, numerous instances, in which the parish house is put up to auction, and without any previous enquiry as to character, conduct,