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luable establishment from oppressive. and threatening difficulties. Its prosperity or decline are at present, to the knowledge of the Managers, placed unequivocally on the alternative of prompt and liberal aid being given, or being withheld. The circumstances shall therefore be represented by them frankly, fully, and explicitly. It would be unfair to exaggerate-they would be unfaithful to their trust if they concealed or palliated them, They owe it to the public, and to their own character, to take care that, in the worst fate of the institution, no ill-founded blame shall attach to them; a consideration which, combined with their deep sense of the importance of the subject, will sufficiently apologize, they trust, for the prolixity and earnestness of the details and observations on which they are about to enter,
The Charity Workhouse was established in 1740, in consequence of a contract made between the Town Council and the General Kirk Sessions. By this contract (signed on the 11th of February of that year) it was agreed, that a hospital or work'house should be built, for the more regular maintenance and employ'ment of the whole poor of the city; and the contract also specified and appropriated the following funds as revenue of the charity, ' for the main *tenance of the poor admitted into the house, and for out-pensioners,' viz. Collections for the poor at the church doors, and at Episcopal meeting houses Fines for marriages not solemnized in church
The aggregate amount of these different funds were no doubt estimated, at the time, as adequate to the purpose in view: but in a case new and untried, it was not surprising that the calculation turned out to be inaccurate. Unfortunately, experience very soon proved that the amount had been overrated; for, in little more than two years, the Managers of that period found that the necessary expenditure far exceeded the actual revenue. They had recourse, therefore, in consequence of this excess, to the humanity of the inhabitants, and solicited a general collection. Their solicitation had, on the occasion, the desired effect, as a very liberal collection was contributed, and considerable relief obtained. But the relief was only temporary! It was found indispensable to renew, at no distant time, a similar solicita, tion.
The frequent recurrence of these collections, however, appears to have induced some leading men in the Town Council, even at this early period of the establishment, to form a plan for an effectual and permanent melioration of the state of its funds. With this view, they proposed to make an application to parliament, for levying a general poor's rate on the inhabitants: but the mere proposal of such a measure excited so universal and decided an alarm and opposition, that it was found expedient to desist from its farther prosecution.
One third of fees for the dead or
The stated revenue of the house was thus left to remain in its former precarious and inadequate condition. It is termed precarious and inadequate, for the stubborn evidence of facts proves it to have been so. The successive statements of the revenue and expenditure, authenticated by the signature of the Managers, or of an accountant appointed by the Town Council, shew that the revenue was never often, or for any length of time,
Poor's box at the Greyfriars gate
*£.200 to be paid annually out of the sufficient, though it might be at dif
revenue of the city.
ferent times defective to a greater or less amount.
So soon after the erection of the Charity Workhouse as the year 1751 (November 5th,) the minutes bring this view of the case forward. They say, The Treasurer informed the meeting, that the ordinary funds of the house could not possibly answer the demands, in regard that meal and grain were greatly risen in the price and the number of the poor increa'sing, and would probably increase through the winter.' In 1765 (January 22d,) the debt is represent. ed at £.68, and 300 bolls of meal unpaid. In 1766 (December 18th,) it was found in the September preceding to have increased to £.303 Sterling. In 1767 (July 28th,) the Managers found themselves called on, either to restrict the number of those admitted into, or those supported 'out of the house.' But no measures taken in consequence had the effect of causing the funds meet the demands. There was a balance due to the Treasurer in 1771 (November 5th) of £.412, and in 1773 (July 27th) of £.1000.
At this period, the rapid and enormous increase of the debt struck the Town Council so powerfully, that they appointed a committee to investigate the state of the house and its funds: and after communicating with the Lord President and others, they were advised to publish a report on the subject, and to suggest, as had formerly been done, to the inhabitants for consideration, Whether it would be proper or expedient to apply for a poor's rate? or whether some other method might not be found out more easy and agreeable to them, in order to raise a fund to support the house in all time coming?"
The proposal of a poor's rate appeared, however, then, as formerly, improper and inexpedient; and a new representation was made by the Magagers in 1774 (March 4th); from
which it appeared, that for the eight preceding years, the annual deficiency of funds had been £.446.
But without detaining the Town' Council by such continued minuteness of detail, the Managers beg leave simply to mention, that their minutes, from time to time, exhibit progressively similar views of the insufficiency of the ordinary revenue, as will appear from the following brief Table.
In 1782, the debt was £.1429. In 1783, £2000. In 1785, £ 2784. In 1791, £.4215. In 1793, £.5501. In 1789, £.3401. In 1790, £.3923.
About this period, by some beneficial alterations in the management of the house, and by extensive public contributions, the amount of debt was considerably reduced. It stood, in 1795, £.2643. But though a favourable state of the markets enabled the Managers, during two or three subsequent years, to reduce the debt still lower, namely, to £.1355; still they could not bring it below this sum; and the price of meal, and other necessary articles of consumption, in the asual fluctuation of markets, again rising, the debt, in 1801, amounted to £.2862. A similar favourable state of prices as had lately taken place once more after this time, enabled the Managers to pay off part of the debt; and it stood in January 1803, at £.1200. Nay, in 1806--7 and 8, (and it was the first time since the erection of the House that the case had happened,) the revenue so considerably exceeded the expenditure, that the whole debt was discharged, and a saving of £.1000 had accrued. But the former state of things recurred in 1809-10 and 11. During these three years, the expenditure has again exceeded the revenue, and that to such an alarming degree, that, beside the above-mentioned temporary saving being exhausted, there is now not only a debt of above £.2000 due by the House, but there is the certain prospect
prospect of this debt being considerably increased (if no immediate means of prevention is adopted) during the course of the season, from the high price of provisions, and the additional number of poor likely to become a burden on the charity.
In this detail (which, however prolix, the Managers thought necessary in the peculiar circumstances of the case, the fact seems incontestibly proved, that the original funds appropriated in 1740 to the support of the Charity Workhouse, have at no period, during the long course of 70 years, been fully, certainly, and regularly equal to its expenditure; but that, on the contrary, their inadequacy must have been incessantly exposing those in its administration to vexatious embarrassments, and the poor of the city to unjust and injurious privations. The inadequacy of the funds to the expense has been, on an average, not less than £.400 per annum from the commencement of the House to the present year.
The direct conclusion which results from this whole general statement appears, in the humble apprehension of the Managers, to be this, -That the Town Council, as representing the community, and as official protectors of the great body of the poor, should, from motives both of equity and expediency, make an annual addition to the £.200 bestowed by their predecessors on the institution which they themselves suggested and founded, but which, from miscalculating its actual demands, they had left too scantily endowed.
But there are other particular views of the case, also substantiated by relative facts in the history of the House, which confirm this conclusion drawn from the preceding general state
1st, It must be obvious, that originally the sum of £.200 was fixed by the Good Town on a joint consideration of the numbers of poor to be
maintained at that time, and on the aggregate produce of the special funds appropriated for their maintenance. Now, since the erection of the House, these circumstances have undergone a great change; and had they existed then in the same condition as they do at present, it must appear undoubted, that either other special funds would have been appropriated, or a larger sum than £.200 would have been fixed. Some years after the House was opened (till 1750,) the amount of poor was about 600; and this, it should be noticed, included not only: infirm paupers and out-pensioners, but all those also who were confined in the house of correction, and are now transferred to Bridewell; whereas the present numbers on the funds of the House are nearly 1300, and last year they were above that amount. Now the special funds at the same time, except the article of 2 per cent. poor' money, have not been materially augmented.
It may perhaps be thought that the sum of church collections should also have increased. But this has been prevented by the rise and progress of the Dissenting meeting houses. For though the Dissenters (including Episcopalians) contribute most liberally on extraordinary occasions, they are not in the practice, like the churches on the establishment, of sending their weekly collections to the Charity Workhouse.
This narrative of facts, then, clearly authorises the inference, that the present Town Council, following out the principle on which the sum of £.200 per annum was originally fixed, ought to make, in existing circumstances, a suitable addition to it. In doing so, they will be merely following out the spirit and evident intention of their predecessors who made. the contract. Judging of the former numbers of the poor, and of the amount of the special and casual funds, £.200 was given as a just relative
contribution by the city. We are bound to believe, that in a different state of these circumstances, the Town Council of that period would still have acted on the same principle, and that the ratio, therefore, of the sum so contributed by them, would have corresponded to that difference. In a fair and impartial interpretation of their deed, the Town Council of the present day have consequently the act of their predecessors in 1740 before them, not as a boundary to stop, but as a precedent to extend the annual contribution of the city.
But, 2d, When, to the view of the particular facts now given, they add the consideration of the progressive depretiation of the market value of money which has taken place since 1740, the inference which the Managers have suggested becomes, on every principal of equity and justice, perfectly irresistible. For illustrating this point, they shall simply mention the following comparative estimate of the different quantities of meal, grain, and coals, which £.200 would have brought in 1740 and in 1811. (The prices per boll, in 1740, being taken from the accounts of the house about that period, and the prices in December 1811 from the certified returns of the markets of Haddington and Edinburgh.) In 1740, the price of wheat, to which the price of bread corresponds, was 15s, per boll, and of oat meal 10s. 6d. per boll;-in 1811, wheat, per boll may be reckoned £.2, 10s., and oat meal £.1, 1s. In 1740, therefore, £.200 purchased 262 bolls of wheat, and in 1811 only 80;-in 1740, £.200 purchased 380 bolls of oat meal, and in 1811 only 190. And it may be added, that other leading articles of expence in the House have experienced a similar rise in price: coals, for instance, in the former year, were 44d, per cwt. in the latter, they are from 10d. to 1s. ; coffins, in 1740, were at 8d. per foot, in 1811 they are 1s. 5d. per foot,
and cost in toto not under £.84 per annum for poor in the House and in the City.
The Managers presume, that this simple comparative statement requires no commentary from them. They conceive it impossible to doubt, that the Town Council, who, knowing the prices of provisions and other articles necessary for the House in 1740, were of opinion that £.200 was a requisite and proper sum of advance by the City, would have thought a much larger sum requisite and proper in 1811. Is it possible that any unbiassed judge of the case should not think so? The Managers at least flatter themselves, that the respectable members who compose the present Town Council will adopt the impression, which the obvious and striking contrast now suggested is fitted to make. There is, therefore, the firmest confidence entertained, both that an addition to the annual allowance of £.200 will be made, and that that addition will bear a fair comparative proportion to the progressive increase in prices, and to the consequent remarkable depretiation in the market-value of money.
Having detailed these views of the history and state of the Charity Work-House, the Managers beg leave to add, that they are encouraged in the confidence which has just been expressed, as to what will be the impression and conduct of the Town Council, by the two following reflections which have occurred to them.
1st, The revenue of the city, from which £.200 was voted in 1740, is acknowledged to have gained a very extensive augmentation since that remote period. It can therefore permit at present, a considerable addition to be made to the amount of that sum, without bringing any undue or disproportionate burden on the public funds of the burgh.
2d, The Town Council have been habitually in the practice of augment
ing progressively prior grants, when the changing circumstances of the times, and the improving condition of the City's revenue, seemed to demand and to justify their doing so. Many instances in confirmation of this last fact will occur to the recollection of those to whom this representation is addressed. The stipends of the ministers of the city, the salaries of the city assessors, of the Lord Provost, the City Chamberlain, &c. have all respectively, since 1740, been on this principle materially augmented; and that the same considerate and laudable principle has not been already acted on with regard to the Charity WorkHouse, the Managers willingly impute, in some degree, to the case never having been so articulately laid before the Town Council as it might have been.
In further reference to this last consideration, the Managers request leave to make a digression, which they humbly think far from irrelevant to the general point they are pressing. In place of applying the general principle of augmenting the grant to the Charity Workhouse in proportion to the progressive augmentation of the sity revenue, the Town Council has, unfortunutely for the institution, acted with regard to it on a principle directly the reverse. For instance, not only have they prevented what would otherwise have yielded a natural and large rise of funds from the House, by feuing Forglen's Park (on which Shakespeare Square, the Theatre, &c. are built, and which was part of Paul's mortification,) at the small sum of £.10 per annum; but, in two late cases particularly, they have diminished, in place of increasing, their prior grants; for, from the first erection of the House, without interruption as to time, and without alteration in the amount, they had paid £.60 per annum as salary to the treasurer; but after conferring this kind of prescriptive title to a continuance
of the sum (it had been paid above threescore years) they have lately withdrawn it. A new burden, in lieu of it, has thus been thrown on the proper funds of the House. And further, when the church-beadles, about two years ago, applied to the Town Council for an augmentation of their salaries, this was granted by their honourable patrons. From some inadvertency (as is supposed,) however, in the arrangement of the transaction, it turned out that a retrenchment was made on the funds of the House to the full amount of the auge mentation, granted. The augmentation, it is understood, required about £.40 per annum; and the branch of public revenue allocated for the payment of that sum was the branch arising from burial-warrants and green turfs. Now, it will be noticed, from what is stated at the beginning of this Representation, as to the original contract between the Town Coun. eil and the general sessions, that the proceeds of this branch of re venue were specially and solemnly appropriated and pledged, along with that of others there enumerated, for the support of the Charity Workhouse. But so completely has that fund been annihilated by the burden laid upon it by the Town Council, that the last quarter amounted only to about 1wenty shillings.
The defalcation arising from these two circumstances now stated, it is surely reasonable to expect will be readily compensated by the Town Council.
The Managers, however, resorting to the primary and broad object of their representation, have to express their earnest hope that the Town Council will not be satisfied with merely compensating this defalcation. Their trust is strong, that a compre hensive and judicious consideration will be paid to the different details and observations respectfully submitted to them; and, entertaining this trust,