14_921 14/11/67
[WILLIAM RATHBONE]

[Aft. 14 Nov. 1867]

'YoUr statistics are very curious and they open up another chapter in this sad poor law. Most of the cases are not subjects for hospital at all & yet here you have people coming distances to get into the hospital where they can have bed & warmth & food under plea of sickness. The more we go into this matter the more it is evident that the intent of the Poor Law, which is to compel as far as possible people to find work for themselves or others to find work for them under penalty of poor rates. is a frightful error. It is applying a money test to a moral wrong. The time appears to be approaching when we shall all have to adopt a moral poor law i.e. a law which shall compel people to find work for those who have none irrespective of any rate. 1 am no advocate of 'ateliers nationauxl, but if every workhouse were made what its name implies - not a penal place at all [in F.N.'s writing] - a place of work where sinews capable of exercising power can be brought into contact with dead matters so as to obtain a result of value we should be on the high way of solving this awful question. The nonsense talked on this subject, as to there being only a certain amount of work in the community to be done by those who can do it is not worth a moment's notice for it is clear that if all workhouse inmates were in the labour market, where they ought to be, the result so far as the supply of labour is concerned would be the same as if the task was done in a workhouse.' ....
2p f'scap size In pencil draft B.M. Add.MSS.47754.f,84
[Not in F.N.'s hand]

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