"Give it a Fair Trial." Poor Law Satire, Anonymous.

"Give it a Fair Trial."

Bury: Printed by J. Kay, Fleet Street, 1838. Second edition? Unbound pamphlet, approx. 6.5 x 4 inches, 8 pages, unopened. Splitting a bit along the spine; some soiling and light wear; in very good condition. Item #16567

"The Kingdom to be divided into Unions for the purposes of this Act, and Guardians to be chosen for each, as the Commissioners may appoint; *provided always,* that no such Guardian shall be above the rank of an 'Independent Labourer,' who has been educated in the New National Schools, and whose weekly wages shall not exceed Six Shillings. The reason for appointing Guardians from the 'Order,' is, that the poorer sections of society are much better judges of what is good for the Rich than they are themselves." A pamphlet attacking the implementation of the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 (generally known as "the New Poor Law"), which sought in part to make workhouse conditions so unpleasant that the impoverished would not seek relief. This anonymous satire proposes "a project of a Law for the 'Amendment' of the Wealthy Classes, and the Higher Orders,--for the improvement of their property, the raising of their morals, and the general good of the community," a plan that in part would erect "Union Palaces" for the rich--and as with the workhouses, "To render these Palaces as 'irksome' as possible, shall be the care of the aforesaid Commissioners." (The rich families are to be separated upon entering a Union Palace as with families at the workhouses, and their diets to be restricted. "If any of the Capitalists should be so rash as to 'agitate' against this excellent measure of Reform, the Commissioners shall have power to order to the spot, a division of the London Police, or a Battalion of Hussars. The transition may be painful, but the end must be good." An undated edition with a Huddersfield imprint was also published, though Felix Driver notes in Power and Pauperism: The Workhouse System, 1834-1884 (Cambridge University Press, 1993), the tract was "distributed in the Huddersfield area during 1837." (The 1838 publication date of course puts this pamphlet right in the middle of the serialization of another satirical fling at the contemporary workhouse, Oliver Twist.) Copac notes a copy of the Huddersfield edition at Senate House at the University of London, and of this Bury edition at Oxford; OCLC adds Mizzou for the latter. See Goldsmiths-Kress 30099.

Price: $225.00

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