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composed of many different — criprions, consisting of serin te in and out of place, tradesien, artisans, labourers, widows, »tt. beggars, who being fre■ ■ titly destitute of the means of rovitling for themselves, are deendent on their parishes for elief, which is seldom bestowed .ituuut the palish claiming the ^.elusive right of disposing, at heir pleasure, of all the children if ihe person receiving relief. The system of apprenticeship is herei'ore resorted lo of necessity, mil -with a view of getting rid of the burthen of supporting so many individuals ; and as it is proIxibly carried to a greater extent there than any where else, for the reasons here stated, your Committee has been enabled to form an opinion, without the necessity of referring to any other part of the kingdom, whether it could be discontinued, withouttakingaway from the parishes the means of disposing of their poor children. It certainly does appeal'to your Committee, "that this purpose might be attained, without the violation of humanity, in separating children forcibly,and conveying them to a distance from their parents, whether those parents be deserving or undeserving. The peculiar circumstances of the metropolis, already alluded to, mav at first seem to furnish an argument in favour of a continuance of this practice; but it can hardly be a matter of doubt that apprentices, to the cumber of two hundred, which is the yearly number bound on the average of ten years beforementioned, might with the most trifling possible cxtrtion on the Vol.lvii.
part of the parish officers, be 'annually bound to trades and domestic employments, within such a distance as to admit of occasional intercourse with a parent, and (what is perhaps of more consequence) the superintendence of the officers of the parish, by which they were bound. That this is not attended with much difficulty seems evident, from the fact that many parishes have never followed the practice of binding their poor children to a distance, though quite as numerous as those in which this practice has prevailed ; and that some parishes' which had begun it, have long discontinued it.
In making these observations, your Committee beg to be understood as not extending them to the sea service, in favour of which they make a special reservation, on account of considerations of the highest political importance connected with the maritime interests of the country. They therefore carefully abstain from recommending any interference with the law as it now stands, which admits of binding parish apprentices to the King's or merchant's naval service.
The system of binding parish apprentices, in the manner in which they are usually bound, to a distance from their parer.ts and relations, and from those parish officers whose duty it is to attend to their moral and physical state, is indeed highly objectionable; but the details and the consequences are very little known, except to those persona to whom professional employment, local situation, or accident, may have afforded the means of
2 O inquiry inquiry and information on the subject. There are, without doubt, instances of masters, who in some degree compensate to children for the estrangement which frequently takes place at a -very early age from their parents, and from the nurses and women to whom they are accustomed in the Workhouses of London, and who pay due and proper attention to the health, education, and moral and religious conduct of their apprentices ; but these exceptions to the too general rule, by no means shake the opinion of your Committee, as to the general impolicy of such a system.
The consideration of the inconvenience and expense brought on parislies, by binding apprentices from a distance, is of no weight, when compared with the more important one of the inhumanity of the practice: but it must not be kept out of sight, that the Magistrates of the West Riding of Yorkshire, or of Lancashire, who are of all others the most conversant with the subject, may in vain p;iss resolutions, us they have done, declaring the impolicy of binding parish apprentices in the manner in which they are usually bound, and attempting to make regulations with a view to their Letter treatment, if these wholesome regulations can be entirely done away by the act of two Magistrates for Middlesex or Surrey, who can without any notice or previous intimation, defeat these humane objects * by binding scores or even hundreds of children to manufacturers in a distant county, and thus increase the very evil which it has been endeavoured to check or prevent. . Indeed in so
slovenly and careless a manner ii this duty frequently performed, and with so little attention to tit future condition of the children bound, that in frequent instances the Magistrates have put their signatures to indentures not executed .by the parties. Two of these indentures have been submitted to the inspection of your Committee, purporting to bind a boy and a girl from a parish in Southwark to a cotton Manufacturer in Lancashire, and though signed by two Justices for the county of Surrey, neither dated nor executed by the parish officers, nor by the master to whom the children were bound. Under these indentures, however, they served; and on the failure of tbeir master, about two years after this binding was supposed to have taken place, thes« poor children, with some hundreds more, were turned adrift on the world, one of them being at the age of nine, and the other of tea years.
It is obvious that these considerations apply equally to the assignment of parish apprentices as to their original binding, and therefore the restriction of distance, proposed in the latter case, should be extended to all the parish apprentices, who during the term of their apprenticeship are assigned to another master; nor should any master have power to remove his apprentice beyond the limited distance, as such power would have a direct and immediate tendency to defeat the object of these regulations.
Your Committee forbear to enter into many details connected with the subject of apprenticeship of the poor, which, though, e highest degree interesting; worthy of the attention of ilouse, are yet in some meaforeign to the immediate obof their inquiry. They canhowever, avoid mentioning -ery early age at which many hese children are bound apitices. The evils of the sys, of these distant removals, ill times severe, and aggrang the miseries of poverty, are felt more acutely, and with a ater degree of aggravation, in > case of children of six or en years of age, who arc reived from the care of their palts and relations at that tenr time of life; and are in many <es prematurely subjected to a jorious employment, frequently ry injurious to their health, id generally highly so to their orals, and from which they innot hope to be set free under period of fourteen or fifteen cars, as, with the exception f two parishes only, in the letropolis, they invariably are iound to the age of twenty-one ears.
Without entering more at arge into the inquiry, your Committee submit, that enough lias been shewn to call the at;ention of the House to the practicability of finding employment for parish apprentices, within icertain distance from their own homes, without the necessity of having recourse to a practice so much at variance with humanity.
FROM THE COMMITTEE ON LAWS RELATING TO THE MANUFACTURE, SALE, AND ASSIZE OF BREAD.
Ordered, by the House of Commons, to be printed, the Gth of June, 1815.
The Committee appointed to inquire into the St«:te of the existing Laws which regulate the Manufacture and Sale of Bread, and whether it is expedient to continue the Assize thereon under any and what Regulations, and to report the Matter thereof as it should appear to them to the House, together with their Observations and Opinion thereupon; and to whom the Petition of several Bakers of the City and Suburbs of the City of Canterbuiy, was referred j—
Have proceeded in pursuance of the orders of the House to examine and compare the statute called 'Assisa Panis et Cervisiae,' made in the fifty-first year of Henry III. with the ordinances made in the reign of Edward I. the twelfth year of Henry VII. the thirty-fourth of Elizabeth, and the Book of Assize published by Order of Council in the yea* 1638.
Your Committee find, that the fifty-first of Henry III. was (at the petition of the Bakers of Coventry) an exemplification of certain ordinances of Assize made in the reign of King John, the purpose of which appears to have
2 0 2 been
been to. regulate, the charges and profits of Bakers; it being stated, iiri mediately after the specification of the table of assize in the Act, "that then a baker in every quar"ter of wheat (as it is proved '• by the King's bakers) may gain *' fourpence and the bran, and "two loaves for advantage; for "three servants three halfpence, '"' for t\v,o lads one halfpenny, in "''salt one halfpenny, for knead*** ing one halfpenny, for candle "one farthing, for wood two"pence, for his bultel (or bolting) '" three halfpence," in all sixpence three farthings, and two loaves for advantage.
Your Committee observing the allowance thus stated to be made to the bakers, was partly in money and partly in bread, proceeded to examine in what way the table of assize was constructed for the purpose of ensuring to them that allowance; and they found, that of eight sorts of bread which were included in the table, the sixth is that which has been called Wheaten Bread in the subsequent Assize Laws. Of this bread it is stated in the tabic, " when wheat shalt sell at 12d. the quarter, the farthing loaf shall weigh 101. lis. o'd.,° which weight (as was usual in those time*) being expressed in pounds shillings and pence, your Committee find to be the saxon or Tower pound, which is to the Troy pound, in the proportion of fifteen to sixteen; and accordingly, when thcTroy weight was established in 18th of Henry VIII., the tables of ussize were duly adjusted in that proportion. Subsequently, in the 13th of Charles I.j when the avoirdupois weight was introduced, the tables
were again adjusted accords!? 3 the known principle, that seres^ three ounces Troy eqaal ejgfc? ounces avoirdupois.
From which statement it a apparent, that the quautity of wbeaic bread expressed in the Stance it, the denomination of lOL 1 Is. 6>i, is equal to 10-575 lbs. Trcj, aa.' S"7087 lbs. Avoirdupois; as. csc loaf of this weight was to he sat' for a farthing when a i^uuttr d wheat was at 12d. it follo\>=, ifc* forty-eight such loaves (nkic. weigh 418 02 lbs. Avolrdupui.was the exact quantity of hcsW which was to be sold for thejriu of a quarter of wheat; vt hater?; bread could be made from it e*«r and above 419 lbs. was fur tif baker's ad vantage, and this isstur-.' in the Statute to have been proved. on experiment, to have anji>uata. to.two loaves; and if these vert peck loaves, 452 lbs. 14 a*- d wheaten bread was the quasttf obtained by the Kind's bakr; from a quarter of who.il.
Your Committee proceeded a examine, whether the quantiM o: bread which can be made from a quarter of wheat, is Mich as U> justify the above interpretation of the Statute; and they found ia the Report of a Committee of xbe House which sat in 177-1, the detail of many accurate experiment* upon that subject; but \ our Committee beg leave to refer to the record of an experiment wbidt Was reported to the House by tee Committee on the High Price of Provisions in 1800, by which it appears, that the flour from a quarter of wheat weighing only 55 lbs. a bushel, and dressed after the mode now io use for preparing flour for the London markel.
et, was baked into 433 lbs. of in which Assize Book it is de■\thcatcn bread, and 25 lbs. of clured in what manner the said hcrosehold bread. And your Com- two shillings is to be allowed; mittce, relying confidently upon that is to say, when wheat was the accuracy of that experiment, at 12s. the quarter, the baker arc thereby assured, that when should bake at 14s. the quarter; the baker was forced to sell no when at 14s. he is to bake at Itis. more than 418 lbs. of bread for the quarter; as in the said book the price of a quarter of wheat, is to be seen, and is to follow at lie really obtained in surplus bread the same rate at what price soever the two loaves for advantage which wheat is at the quarter." As this the Statute professed to allow him; mode has been in use down to although it is probable the bread the present time, and is above'rewas not of quite so fine a qua- ferred to as having been long lity as the wheatcn bread now in established, it is probably that use. which was in the earliest times
The money allowance appears adopted, by its specified application in the Your Committee proceeded to Statute, to have been for the pur- trace the successive alterations pose only of repaying the baker's which hail taken place in these charges for grinding and baking, two allowances to the bakers, and The advantage loaves were for his with regard to the payment in maintenance, and profit; but your money, they found it was from Committee do not find the mode time to time increased and altered: is exactly specified by which the in the twelfth of Henry VII. it money allowance was paid: in was raised to two shillings per later times the mode of payment quarter; and your Committee beg was described at length in the leave to point out, that a large book published by Order of Coun- portion of this allowance appears cil in the latter part of the reign to have been appropriated to the of Queen Elizabeth, and which baker and his family, who by fiftyrefers to a former Book of Assize one of Henry HI., were provided as follows: "In the reign of for by the advantage loaves. Henry VII., the bakers were al- "Anno 1405, twelfth of Henry lowed two shillings for their VII., and as the said Book of Ascharges in baking a quarter of size declareth,'' "when the best wheat and the bran, as plainly ap- wheat was sold at 7s., the second peareth in the said old Assize at 6s. Cd., and the third at 6s. the Book, which hath relation to the quarter, Statute of Winchester aforesaid,
The Baker was allowed, ». d.
"Furnace and wood 0 C"
it The Miller O 4"
•..„?' Two journeymen and two apprentices O 5"
if\e ^a^* yeast> cai,dle, and sack bands O 2'*
\vy Ijim^clr', his house, his wife, his dog, and Ids cat... O T",,
ifusnui' biio.l v . •"■'• "1"' '■": . ,, „ „"
In all 3 O
"And the Branne to his advantage."