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the 12th of Queen Anne too, ftat. 1. c. 18. it was CHA P. further enacted, that neither the servants nor apprentices of fuch certificated man should gain any fettlement in the parish where he refided under fuch certificate.

How far this invention has restored that free circulation of labour which the preceding ftatutes had almost entirely taken away, we may learn from the following very judicious obfervation of Doctor Burn. "It is obvious," fays he, " that "there are divers good reafons for requiring "certificates with perfons coming to fettle in "any place; namely, that perfons refiding un"der them can gain no fettlement, neither by "apprenticeship, nor by fervice, nor by giving "notice, nor by paying parish rates; that they

can settle neither apprentices nor fervants; "that if they become chargeable, it is cer

tainly known whither to remove them, and "the parish fhall be paid for the removal, "and for their maintenance in the mean time;

and that if they fall fick, and cannot be re"moved, the parish which gave the certificate "must maintain them: none of all which can

be without a certificate. Which reafons will "hold proportionably for parifhes not granting "certificates in ordinary cafes ; for it is far « more than an equal chance, but that they will have the certificated perfons again, and in a worfe condition." The moral of this obfervation feems to be, that certificates ought always to be required by the parish where any poor man comes to refide, and that they ought very feldom

to

BOOK to be granted by that which he propofes to leave. I. "There is fomewhat of hardihip in this matter

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"of certificates," fays the fame very intelligent Author, in his Hiftory of the Poor Laws, " by "putting it in the power of a parish officer, to

imprison a man as it were for life; however "inconvenient it may be for him to continue at "that place where he has had the misfortune to "acquire what is called a fettlement, or whatever advantage he may propofe to himself by living "elsewhere."

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THOUGH a certificate carries along with it no teftimonial of good behaviour, and certifies nothing but that the perfon belongs to the parish to which he really does belong, it is altogether difcretionary in the parish officers either to grant or to refuse it. A mandamus was once moved for, fays Doctor Burn, to compel the churchwardens and overfeers to fign a certificate; but the court of King's Bench rejected the motion as a very ftrange attempt.

THE very unequal price of labour which we frequently find in England in places at no great distance from one another, is probably owing to the obstruction which the law of fettlements gives to a poor inan who would carry his industry from one parish to another without a certificate. A fingle man, indeed, who is healthy and induftrious, may fometimes refide by fufferance without one; but a man with a wife and family who fhould attempt to do fo, would in most parishes be fure of being removed, and if the fingle man fhould afterwards marry, he would generally be

removed

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removed likewife. The fcarcity of hands in one CHA P. parish, therefore, cannot always be relieved by their fuper-abundance in another, as it is conftantly in Scotland, and, I believe, in all other countries where there is no difficulty of fettlement. In fuch countries, though wages may fometimes rife a little in the neighbourhood of a great town, or wherever else there is an extraordinary demand for labour, and fink gradually as the distance from fuch places increases, till they fall back to the common rate of the country; yet we never meet with thofe fudden and unaccountable differences in the wages of neighbouring places which we sometimes find in England, where it is often more difficult for a poor man to pass the artificial boundary of a parish, than an arm of the fea or a ridge of high mountains, natural boundaries which fometimes feparare very distinctly different rates of wages in other countries.

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To remove a man who has committed no mifdemeanour from the parish where he chufes to refide, is an evident violation of natural liberty and justice. The common people of England, however, fo jealous of their liberty, but like the common people of most other countries never rightly understanding wherein it confifts, have now for more than a century together fuffered themselves to be exposed to this oppreffion without a remedy. Though men of reflection too have sometimes complained of the law of fettlements as a public grievance; yet it has never been the object of any general popular clamour,

- I.

BOOK fuch as that against general warrants, an abusive practice undoubtedly, but fuch a one as was not likely to occafion any general oppreffion. There is scarce a poor man in England of forty years of age, I will venture to fay, who has not in fome part of his life felt himself most cruelly oppreffed by this ill-contrived law of fettlements.

I SHALL Conclude this long chapter with obferving, that though anciently it was ufual to rate wages, first by general laws extending over the whole kingdom, and afterwards by particular orders of the juftices of peace in every particular county, both these practices have now gone entirely into difufe. By the experience of above "four hundred years," fays Doctor Burn," it "feems time to lay aside all endeavours to bring "under ftrict regulations, what in its own na"ture seems incapable of minute limitation : " for if all persons in the fame kind of work "were to receive equal wages, there would be « no emulation, and no room left for industry " or ingenuity."

PARTICULAR acts of parliament, however, still attempt sometimes to regulate wages in particular trades and in particular places. Thus the 8th of George III. prohibits under heavy penalties all master taylors in London, and five miles round it, from giving, and their workmen from accepting, more than two fhillings and fevenpence halfpenny a day, except in the cafe of a general mourning. Whenever the legislature attempts to regulate to regulate the differences between mafters and their workmen, its counfellors are

always

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always the mafters. When the regulation, there- c HA P. fore, is in favour of the workmen, it is always just and equitable; but it is sometimes otherwife when in favour of the mafters. Thus the law which obliges the mafters in feveral different trades to pay their workmen in money and not in goods, is quite juft and equitable. It imposes no real hardship upon the masters. It only obliges them to pay that value in money, which they pretended to pay, but did not always really pay, in goods. This law is in favour of the workmen; but the 8th of George III. is in favour of the masters. When mafters combine together in order to reduce the wages of their workmen, they commonly enter into a private bond or agreement, not to give more than a certain wage under a certain penalty. Were the workmen to enter into a contrary combination of the fame kind, not to accept of a certain wage under a certain penalty, the law would punish them very severely; and if it dealt impartially, it would treat the masters in the fame manner. But the 8th of George III. enforces by law that very regulation which masters sometimes attempt to establish by fuch combinations. The complaint of the workmen, that it puts the ablest and most industrious upon the fame footing with an ordinary workman, feems perfectly well founded.

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In ancient times too it was usual to attempt to regulate the profits of merchants and other dealers, by rating the price both of provisions and other goods. The affize of bread is, so far as I know, the only remnant of this ancient

ufage.

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