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MERTHYR BOARD OF GUARDIANS. -The ordinary weekly meeting of this Board was held on Saturday, at the Board-room of the Workhouse. Mr G. T. Clark, (chairman,) pre- sided and there was a very largfi attendance of Gaurdians, Mr Fothergill, M.P., being also present. The minutes of the last me' ting were read and confirmed. 0 APPOINTMENT OF PAY OFFICKR. In accordance with notice duly given, Mr R. H. Rhys moved that in the 01>1111011 of this Board it is expedient that a pay officer should be appointed for the purpose of adminis- tering relief to the paupers of the Union." The speaker pointed out that sooner or later th y would be compilled by the Local Government Board to increase the number of their officers for the purpose of being able to obtain better infor- mation as to various persons in receipt of relief, and he thought this could best be done by the appointment of an officer whose duty it w 'utd be to pay the paupers as well as all orders made by the relieving officers. Iu consequence of the great railway accommodation of the district, there would be no difficulty in accomplishing this. He believed that there would be an objection made by some members of the Board on the ground that it would be an increase in the number of officers, and thereby entail a greater charge on the Union, but as he had previously mentioned, sooner or later they would be compelled to do this. It has also been stated as another objection that thj officers did not like to be r lieved from this duty, but he did not see why they should object to be relieved of so onerous a duty, and that could be no valid objection whatever. Mr Jenkin Matthew seconded the motion. Mr W. Gould rose to propose an amendment He set his face altogether against any further increase of officers, for by and bye there would be more officers than there were people to look after. The speaker then went into statistics, showing the decrease in the amount of out-door relief since the year 1870, showing that while for tho: six months ending March of that year, the amount of out-door relief for the parish of Merthyr (upper and lower) was £4,584 los. in the corresponding six months ending March, 1873, it was only £3,447 12s. 6d. He thought that as the officers were dsing ther duty in such a sitiafactory man- ner, with such assistance as could be given by the Board in the way of occasional revisions, tli, re was no need for any increase in the number of officers. Besides, he argued, it would destroy their means of obtaining information when the people found that the relieving officers no long r gave them money, but mer ly came among them for the purpose of obtaining information, they would begin to look upon them as a sort of spy or detFctives. The speaker thought that inu.ad of creating any more officers, the Board should congratulate itself on the great success which it had already met with in reducing the amount of out-door relief so far, and not throw a stigma upon the officers by making them into Poor- law detectives." He begged to moveâ" That in the opinion of this Board it is in xp.'dient at pre sent to make any i'1 the method of his tributing out-door relief. Mr Thomas Williams seconded this, lie did not look upon the relieving officers in the same light as Mr Rhys appeared to do. It was not they who gave the relie f, but the Board and he fully agreed with Mr Gould in saying that if the power of payment was taken out of tliu hands, they would be looked upon as mere spies and detectives whereas thay were no-, to a certain extent, locked upon as friends lie was glaa indeed that sue 1 an amount of reduction in the out-door relief had taken place, and he be- lieved this would continue to be the c ise. He agreed that paupers should be visited as often as possible, but this reduction which was going on would give the present ollicjrs niure timj to L (I e vote to visiting. Mr D. E. Williams also supported the amend- ment, and for this reason He believed taey had the Lest set of officers in the county, who had served the Board for a great number of years, and he thought they were certainly entitled to greater consideration :it the hands of the Board. He found, upon reference, that as a rule the ap- plications did not exceed fifty per waek, and the present staff could easily do all that. He could see no reasoa in continually harassing the old paupers by visitations. Their circumstances changod but little from year to year, but the casuals should be visited, and the present officers had plenty of ti ue for that. He could not see that the change was advisable, for they had good officers now, who, while distributing relief, con- sulted the interests of the ratepayers, and did not forget the wants of the poor. Mr William Harris could notooncur at all with the amendment, and be thought the strongest evidence of the want of more officers was given during the recent revision (hear, hear.) He did not know any argument stronger in favour of the proposed scheme than the fact that they found relief going into houses in which the family was earning as much as 40s per week, and if that was thought by the Board sufficient evidence of the full and proper discharge of their duties'by the present officers he would be silent for ever. This fact was a sufficient warrant, in his opinion to justify him in voting for the change. The Chairman considered this a very impor- tant motion, and one that would be very much discussed out of doors, and would be the subject of considerable difference of opinion. He was opposed as much as anyone could well be to the multiplication of officers, for he had seen the ill effects of it in other countries. In Germany and France, fur instance, it was carried to such an extent that in the latter country it gave the Government a power at elections which was used very much to the detriment of the country. It follows as a matter of course that if every other man was an officer, he would vote for some one who put him iu position. But the abuse did not take away the use, and it was necessary to have a sufficient staff to enable them to see their way clear to act justly. The whole system of < poor-law relief was a violation of the laws of political economy. There were reasons why this shculd he done, but care should be taken to act cautiously and manly. They should look with suspicion upon every person who applied to them for relief, and find out as much as possible of their circumstances. He did not think the duties of the present staff wonld enable them to do this adequately. The speaker expressed sympathy with the poor, but be had no sympatliy with pauperism, looking upon it as a canker that was eating out the vitals or the country. They should endeavour as much as possible to raise the char- acter of those who came before them, so that in future they might become hardworking and in- dustrious. To know properly how to act with discrimination they must be acquainted as far as possible with the circumstances of the applicants for relief. Those who had been honest and in- dustrious, trying to do their best, but who through misfortune had fallen into poverty, should be carefully and liberally dealt with, but the B lard should be hard upon those who were simply idle and thriftless. The speaker thought the Board wanted relieving officers as detectives they wanted men who could detect crime and shams. (Hear, hear.) The Board should be just; it should be able to discriminate between the real and unreal, so as to turn no real case of distress harshly away, or not to be taken in by any sham, and to do this effectually they must have information as to the character and circum- stances of the applicants who came before them Then, again, it was necessary that the officer should himself pay into the hands of each man the money that was allowed by the Board. By the present system the officers saw some of the paupers only once a year, and the money was sent to them weekly by some messenger. In one instance it had been discovered that such mes- senger (another pauper) taking 2s Gd a week to a pauper received 3d. commission out of it. There should be no intermediate, but the money be paid at once into the hands of the recipient. This was a time of great wealth and prosperity, so people could very well afford to be economicpl. The wealth was also healthily divided, so that the poorest ratepayers could afford to pay his quota as well as the richest. By degrees there wouldbeadintinution in the pauper class, the standard world be raised, and then it would be found that rates would diminish. Mr R. H. Rhys replied to some of the ob- jections which had been raised to his motion. He attributed the reduction in the amount of re- lief alluded to by Mr Gould to the severity of recent revisions, and thought that increased supervision would lead to increased reduction. His object was to raise the character 01 the peo- ple and rely upon it this was the time to begin. By Mr Gould's own showing there was about X716,000 expended half yearly in out door rdief, and out of this sum the salaries paid to officers was only £ 414 per annum, a most inadequate sum, The speaker hid no desire to be hard or harsh to the infirm or old (hear, hear), but he wanted to trample out all impositiun and do away with the d' e'it which had b-en s) long practised. He felt sure that many now in receipt of relief had no right to be so, and by keeping a good supervision a grent deal of imposition would bo discovered. He beli. veri the motion would have a salutary effect, and trusted the Board Would concur in his views. The Board then divided, with the following result.:âFor the motion The Chairman, Messrs. Fothergill, the Rector, R. n. Rliys, Jeukiu Rees, R. Williams, Dr. Price, George Martin, A. Sutherland, D Watkins, T. Hosgood, W m. Harris J. W. James, Jenkin Mathew, John Williams, W. Williams, (Penderyn), and B. Kirkhouseâ 18. For the amendment: Messrs. D. P. Davies, Thomas Williams, M. Edwards, D. E. Williams, T. W. Evam, P. Ree-3, J. Ritsou, R -e. Lewis, W. Williams, (Plymouth), RJv. W. Divi^s, W. Guild, D. Evans, J. W. Jones, aud M. Morgans â 11. Dr. Davies, who was present, did not vote. Tne motion was thereupon declared duly car- ried.






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