William Godwin's Diary


The proposal would repeal the law of settlement, by which the poor were tied to their locality. James Scarlett, first Baron Abinger (1769–1844) objected to three basic elements of the current provision for the poor: its compulsory and unlimited provision; the administration of that provision not for the provision of work or the improvement of morals but ‘to cherish the vices and the indolence of the class of the poor who were disposed to exist rather on the charity of others, than to depend for their own bread on their own exertions’; and in the restraint that now existed upon the free exercise of labour (by restricting the movement of the poor in the country). The Bill was read a second time and referred to committee.

SeeThe Times, 25 May 1821 and Hansard New Series, vol. 5, 3 April to 11 July 1821, cols. 983-999.