How did the Comission conduct its enquiry?
- Consists of severn members appionted in 1832 and two more appoionted in 1833
- two most influencial Nassau Senior and Edwin Chadwick.
- The commsion set about gathering evidence concerning the opporation of the poor law.
- 26 assistant commissioners were dispatched to carry out this investigation, armed with precise instructions from the commissioners they were to
- interview clergy, parish officers and magistrates
- inspect parish documents
- cross-examine witnesses
- attend vestry meetings
- follow up the replies to questionnaires that had been sent out by the commissioners.
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Critcism towards the Royal Commission
- Wildly unstatical
- of the 1500 parishes in Endland and Wale on 10 percent were investigated.
- in the parishes visited the questions were confusing therefore the replies were less then useful.
- the overseers that answered the questions were often semi-literate and certainly unaccustomed to dealing with such matters
- However there is a recorgnition that such a survey was in itself groundbreaking in an age with very primitive bureaucratic procedures.
- it would be unacceptable to expect modern standards to be carried out in a survey in the early 1830's
- Chadwick and Senior had come to thier conclusion before the evidence was gathered and therefore used the evidence to support thier ideas. Using it as a tool to reform the poor law in a way they had already chosen.
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The 1834 Report
- The first part of the report the poor law was attacked using research from the assisstant commissioners, the second part contained the conclusion and recomendations for reform.
- The central argument concerned the demoralisation of the labouring class, which the commissioners claimed had resulted from the poor laws.
- They made it clear that people should distingish between the labourer who was poor, but independent, and the pauper.
- They belived that poverty was a naturalk form of existance, but indigence was not.
- They also thought that the poor should be separated from the pauper phsyically and psychologically.
- The report recomended that all froms of relif apart from the workhouse should be outlawed. therefore able-bodied persons and thier families would only be able to use the workhouse asd a from of relief.
- To enforce this a new central authority should be established to compel parishes to co-operate.
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