Richard Hutton's Complaints Book: 1723-32 (nos 110-149)

Richard Hutton's Complaints Book: The Notebook of the Steward of the Quaker Workhouse At Clerkenwell, 1711-1737. Originally published by London Record Society, London, 1987.

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'Richard Hutton's Complaints Book: 1723-32 (nos 110-149)', in Richard Hutton's Complaints Book: The Notebook of the Steward of the Quaker Workhouse At Clerkenwell, 1711-1737, ed. Timothy V Hitchcock( London, 1987), British History Online [accessed 25 July 2024].

'Richard Hutton's Complaints Book: 1723-32 (nos 110-149)', in Richard Hutton's Complaints Book: The Notebook of the Steward of the Quaker Workhouse At Clerkenwell, 1711-1737. Edited by Timothy V Hitchcock( London, 1987), British History Online, accessed July 25, 2024,

"Richard Hutton's Complaints Book: 1723-32 (nos 110-149)". Richard Hutton's Complaints Book: The Notebook of the Steward of the Quaker Workhouse At Clerkenwell, 1711-1737. Ed. Timothy V Hitchcock(London, 1987), , British History Online. Web. 25 July 2024.

110. [p. 136] A copy of a paper &c taken to Richard Hutton, steward of friends' workhouse.

15 January 1723.

Loving friend, Thou art desired to acquaint John Albury that his misbehaviour in friends' workhouse has been considered by us and that unless we hear of a speedy amendment we shall be obliged to complain to the committee in order that he may be turned out of the house. Also thou mayst let the said John Albury understand that after he is turned out of the house for his disorderly conduct therein . . . it is probable that friends will think themselves entirely clear of him and if so, he may not expect any relief from the monthly meeting for the future, notwithstanding necessity and distress he may bring upon himself by his wilful, inconsiderate and disorderly behaviour as aforesaid. And for caution thou art desired to read this to him which he would do well to consider before it be too late. Gilbert Molleson, George Wingfield, Richard Saunders, Phillip Storrey, Richard Hutcheson, Nathaniel Beard, John Russell.

111. Laid out for John Wilson when sick, weak &c.

6 December 1718 Quarter pound chocolate 10½d.
12 Physic 3d.
16 Anastringent juleps 10d.
29 January 1718 [1719] Quarter pound chocolate 10½d.
5 February Two pounds of sugar 1s.
9 Quarter pound chocolate 10½d.
Cinnamon 4d.
16 One pint of claret, 9d.; quarter pound sugar, 3d. 1s.
25 Quarter pound chocolate 10½d.
19 March Half a pint of claret, 4½d.; half a pound of double refined sugar, 6d.; half an ounce cinnamon, 4d.; and 4 ounces burnt hart's horn 6½d.
20 Oysters 2d.
23 Quarter pound of chocolate 10½d.
26 Oysters 3d.
Conserve of roses as by receipt book, with juleps 5s.
6 April Cheese cake 1d.
7 Oysters 2d.
10 Fish 2d.
18 Oysters 3d.
5 May Conserve of roses at sundry times 2s. 6d.
12 Half a pint of wine, 4½d.; double refined sugar, 6d.; and 4 ounces of burnt hart's horn 1s. 2½d.
22 Half pint claret, 4½d.; quarter pound bisquits 7d.
Cheese cakes 1d.
26 A pint of claret 9d.
28 Quarter pound chocolate, 10½d.; bisquits 1d. 11½d.
7 June Pint and a half claret 1s. 1½d.
9 Half a pound six penny sugar 3d.
15 Pint and half of claret 1s. 1½d.
17 Half a pound of double refined sugar 6d.
Fish 1½d.
20 Quarter pound chocolate 10½d.
23 Cheese cake 1d.
25 Quarter pound bisquits, 2½d.; and cheese cake, 1d. 3½d.
£1 5s. 10½d.

112. [p. 138] Conserve of roses before mentioned was taken morning and evening in red cow's milk. He had chocolate to breakfast, and having new laid eggs in the house he had them poached &c, milk thickened with flour or eggs, also bread pudding.

113. William Brady's accommodation

I was desired to inform any friends or others concerning the accommodation William Brady had while in this house, because several strange reports have been spread about as if he was starved while he was here. He was in the house betwixt two and three years, and did signify here that he seldom has his health at home. And here also he was very often not well, but especially in winter, when he was mostly incapable of either learning or working. Also seemed to have a natural aversion against both, together with a very uneasy disposition which was supposed to hinder the child from thriving, also increase his distemper, which was concluded to be a consumption; likewise very incident and intermitting, . . . also a looseness, and therefore the doctor advised that he should have his own country air.

He did no business (except a few days at school) from 30 November 1722 to 2 September 1723 which was until the time he went out of the house. And all the said time was accommodated in the kitchen. And for his diet, when it was thought convenient for him to eat meat, he had then mutton, veal and pork, being a great lover of the two last, and was esteemed very suitable for him. And sometimes he would desire roast beef which he also very much liked and had it accordingly. And concerning the quantity of meat, he was not kept to any allowance but had it cut till he said he had enough. In the third month of the two aforesaid years . . . he had red cow's milk and conserve of roses the first thing in the morning and had the same again about the fourth hour in the afternoon. His breakfast, . . . pretty often in the winter time (or when he had his looseness) was generally half a pint of chocolate with 4 ounces of bread toasted and sometimes rice milk, milk pottage or mutton broth. And having new laid eggs in the house . . . he had them sometimes poached. And when meat was thought improper for him [p. 139] also he had milk thickened with eggs or flour. Likewise he had bread pudding, fresh fish or anything in reason was got that the child inclined to eat.

He had diverse times papers of bezoar powders when the fever was upon him, also juleps and cordials when the looseness was upon him and then his common drink was made of powder of hart's horn, cinnamon and double refined sugar, and after his supper, the last thing when he went to bed, he had a bit of bread toasted with a coffee dish of claret burnt with cinnamon and double refined sugar . . . And it is not this child only, but any in the family either old or young are accommodated in the like manner or as their distempers, weaknesses &c, requires. What is herein related is really matter of fact and several are now in the house that was eye witness and can testify the truth of what is herein related, notwithstanding what may have been unfairly drawn from the child.

It hath sometimes happened that the children have been put here by their parents whose former circumstances has been pretty good, and has seemed as if their minds were somewhat above the good and reasonable orders of the house, without which such a family as this cannot long subsist. And therefore are incident to request things that cannot be admitted or without setting ill precedents, breach of orders &c. Then such friends have been liable to sow dissatisfaction and disrespect and that even before their children who ought rather to have a good esteem implanted in their minds for them who have the care over them and their education &c. But instead of advising their children as aforesaid, such parents have been very incident in a surmising, doubtful mind to ask their children many questions (about their work, victuals, correction &c) and the children can quickly discover their . . . parents' dissatisfaction, esteeming it then a proper time to gain a point to themselves having so fair an opportunity given. And we have observed that children have taken liberty to report things altogether not true and that might never have been thought on by them if they had not been led to it by the unskilfulness of their parents.

And inasmuch as it is mostly against the natural inclination of [p. 140] children (especially who have had much liberty) to love any less liberty than they have been accustomed unto, and again, liberty, change and new things are very agreeable to children, and therefore may reasonably be concluded they may be liable to say diverse things not true in order to gain what is so agreeable to them, especially when they find how easily they can have an influence upon their parents as aforesaid. And things of this nature have been a great hurt to the poor children who otherwise might have been very easy and well content. Also has brought trouble and exercise upon those who have the care of the children and which as likewise, very undue, tends to the lessening of the good and plentiful accommodation of the house.

And inasmuch as diverse bad reports have been spread about relating to this child's accommodation as aforesaid, it was esteemed reasonable a true state of the case should be sent, which I have done accordingly and conclude your respectful friend.

Workhouse, 29 July 1724.

Richard Hutton, Steward

114. Esteemed friend John Tanner,

It was thought convenient that something of this nature should be sent inasmuch as divers false reports have been spread about relating to William Brady. Therefore, [I] desire thou wouldst please to desire friends that the enclosed may be read in your monthly meeting in order for their information concerning the accommodation &c of the house. So with mine and my wife, kind love to thy self &c, I remain thy obliged friend, Richard Hutton

Workhouse, 29 July 1724.

115. [p. 141] Memorandum, 18 July 1726.

It very much [harms] us in the managing affairs in the family when the children's parents treat us not only with disrespect but also abusively and that in the presence of the children, servants &c; especially when they say they have authority for what they do or say which makes the children very insolent, subtle & stubborn, frequently contriving to spread false reports. And we do suppose that the children was scarce ever in general corrupted in respect to speaking untruths, idleness, stubbornness &c (as aforesaid) as they are now.

When there was persons in our post who proved very deficient in qualification, trust &c, yet the committee even then esteemed it to be an absolute necessity that the steward &c should be preserved in their authority until they could get some more suitable in their places or else the family might perhaps have gone into much greater confusion than it did at that time.

It might be very convenient for every friend at his first entering into the service of this committee to inform himself thoroughly relating to the government of the family, the bill of fare, orders of the house &c, first being authorised and approved us by a minute of the quarterly meeting and the last well approved by a committee of the quarterly meeting. And if they appear yet to be sufficient and justly administered then they who are newly come upon the committee may with more ease reject the many undue complaints generally made to them upon such their first entrance by discontented parents &c and order them to come to the committee &c.

Notwithstanding the orders may be very reasonable and the bill of fare sufficient, yet except the persons who are under you be just in administering &c you cannot safely maintain the reputation of the house.

It may therefore be well to consider whether any reasonable man (who has perhaps many times been obliged to assert that he never gave less than the bill of fare allows to any who can dispense with it &c) would contract guilt upon his mind in keeping back any part of the poor's allowance when it is not at his charge and might get much trouble and an ill name for so doing.

116. [p. 142] Memorandum, 11 June 1726.

This day Thomas Smith having come to see his children &c walked about a little [and] offered to go upstairs when the maid was washing them, whom I [had] desired to come down. [I] said, he should not go into the school, they should rather be called down, though but just gone up. To which he replied, he would go up in spite of my teeth, and did. But the school master locked the door, so that he saw them not till they came down, when I told him, he brought them home but last first day, though they ought to have come the 7th day, wherefore he little needed to have seen them again so soon. He said, he would come to see them every day in spite of my teeth, if he had a mind for it, for it was a public house, which in the yard he repeated diverse times in the hearing of the servants. And was so abusive that I told him, I ought to have a beadle to keep such disorderly persons out of the house that such abuse might be prevented or else a constable to keep the peace. For which he told me, I was a saucy impudent fellow and deserved a constable myself. My wife told him, it was on 7th days when always they were cleaning. He replied, he had nothing to do that day. My wife told him, she thought he might spend his time better than here, especially since he saw them so lately. He said, she was a saucy, impudent hussy and he would come every day and see them too, if they were alive, and said, he would take them, he could maintain them himself, he valued none of us. He told me, I did not do my duty and was not a Christian. I desired he would make that out. He said, because I did not correct them myself but let that saucy slut do it, meaning Hannah [Newton], and in an insolent manner as he had not foot under other folks' table, and said anything [he] thought would provoke and aggravate; threatening what he would do and much of that sort.

117. [p. 143] Memorandum, 11 June 1726.

Having while upon duty in the school understand that Thomas Smith was below, I gave my attendance, the steward being gone out . . . When I appeared he immediately broached a whole flood of complaints about his sons being cruelly beaten, pretending that if they wanted an ounce or ½ of finishing their tasks were beat for it unmercifully. And exclaimed against the house by making it parallel to Egyptian servitude, saying, why should they be limited to such a time for their tasks, and not take their own time. The boy being asked if he was beat for such a thing confessed the contrary, whereupon I took occasion to observe that his vulgar and very abusive deportment before his own children was the readiest expedient to lessen our authority, by preserving in them that disposition which had all along and still would procure them more of the same. To palliate which, he pleaded affection, but in short I should sooner have taken it to be the spirit of gin. Then he bragged they should not stay here to be beat by that saucy slut, meaning Hannah [Newton]. Upon which the stewardess bid him take them just then & withal reminded him how capable [he was] of maintaining them. To which he replied, he had as much money as she before she came thither. And to show more of his incorrigible ill-nature in alarming the whole neighbourhood, added, he would have every one take their children away and let her go again to her tailoring. And all the while pretended religion, crying out, he was ashamed . . . friends should be guilty of such cruelty. But so little was he ashamed of his own behaviour that all the acknowledgement we could get from him was that he had not said or acted anything amiss, for what he said, withal threatening how he would immediately go complain and went away.

H. [enry] E.[lbeck]

118. [p. 144] Workhouse, 24 August 1726.

Having heard that Thomas Smith denied what he said at this house on 11 June last, these may . . . [in]form any friends as occasion requires that I heard said Thomas Smith give the abusive language in the yard to my master, mistress &c contained in the just paper; also the abuses to my mistress in my master's absence, written by the school master in the second paper. And at the same time Thomas Smith denied that he had said that it was no charity to maintain children and keep them at work and that he could prove we made them earn their livings, though he spoke it in our parlour when my master, mistress and I were present there and heard him say it, and therefore esteem it not be so strange that he should deny his unbecoming treatment now, [to] which I was an ear witness [and] was much worse than is made appear in writing.

He spoke so loud that the tenants looked out at their windows, which he perceiving raised his voice louder, by which it appeared he intended they should hear him. Vaunting about in a very unbecoming manner he seemed to lay a pretty great stress upon the authority that he had for what he did as he then said.

He reported diverse things at friends' houses that were not true, which tended to beget a wrong understanding in the minds of friends relating to them who, to the best of their understanding, have . . . honestly discharged themselves in their services in [the] said house.

The children's parents coming so often to the house & showing such disrespect, also being abusive before the children &c, has tended very much to hurting the said children in making them tattle and hold together in contriving false stories to make their parents uneasy, hoping thereby to get out of the house. And things of this nature have been the cause of the idleness, stubbornness and untractableness of the children of late. And notwithstanding they now do so very little work to what was formerly done, yet some parents are discontent, although the children can have done easily by noon if diligent. If any who have the oversight of those children will indulge them in their idle, vain minds . . . [they] may have a very easy place in that service, also their parents' good word, though much to the disadvantage of the children and a great [p. 145] loss to the house in spoiling their work &c. But whoever in that place are conscientiously concerned to prevent such disadvantage as aforesaid may be unduly treated except some good expedient be found to prevent.

The reasons of my writing this now is because in a short time I shall leave London.

Hannah Newton, copy

119. Brewing, 27 February 1727.

An instruction for brewing for two quarters and half of malt. For the first liquor just make it boil or just break and then cool in about one fourth of the cold liquor. And for the second liquor make it just break and cool in one third of the cold liquor. Mash twice for the first wort. Mash the first as stiff as you can and for the second . . . mash as much as will make up the length thee intends to draw. And for the small liquor thou may just make them ready to boil and cool in one fourth of cold liquor, except the last and make that pretty sharp.

120. [p. 146] A visit, 4 February 1727.

The friends went directly up into the workroom amongst the children and said, here is a parcel of little creatures, poor little creatures indeed. Oh, how they work and in their shirts too. Some of the friends held up their hands saying, oh, poor little creatures. One of said friends who has a grandchild in this house said to Edward (who looks after the children), thou needs not walk with a cane under thy arm, they work in fear enough without, and asked my wife, what was the reason that the boy had sore hands, saying that, he had no sore hands before he came here. Also told us that he was not grown any bigger, for she had took a measure on him when he came into the house.

One of the friends asked, how we dressed the herring when the children had them to dinner and how many do you give them. I heard you gave them but one herring each. We first told the friend how we dressed them, which they seemed to approve of very well. Then said, we gave the big children three herrings each, and the small children two or two & an half according to the bigness of the herrings. But the friend was not willing to tell who it was that reported it.

The friends being with my wife talking in the workroom, . . . sent for me. And in the meantime, when we were discoursing in the workroom, the boys and girls went down as they had done work and some of said children said below stairs that the friends who came to visit the house, being in the workroom, said, oh the poor little creatures, how they work in their shirts; they always work in fear to be sure. Also said, they were scolding with the steward and stewardess. The servant maids also heard of it as well as some of the rest of the family.

The child had only one sore finger when he went home, also was very clean, decent and in good order and got the rest of the sores at home. And esteeming ourselves obliged to say so in opposition to what was reported and likewise our speaking a little in what condition the child was sent to the house again with which we suppose the friend was displeased or otherwise might have been as agreeable in her visit as the other friends. The said friend said that, she took measure of the lad when he came into the house and thereby she could tell that he was not grown. But we think he has considerably, also the looks of the child may partly show whether he is grown or not.

He has been here almost one year.

121. [p. 147] Physic, juleps, salve, ointments &c for the family:

From 29 September 1711 to 29 September 1728 10s. 8d.
Ditto to 29 September 1713 13s. 10d.
Ditto to 29 September 1714, consumptions, agues, aged &c. £2 8s. 3d.
Ditto to 29 September 1715, two jaundices, agues, consumption, aged &c. £2 8s. 9d.
Ditto to 29 September 1716, jaundice, consumption, small pox £1 15s. 9d.
Ditto to 29 September 1717, jaundice, small pox &c. £1 9s. 4d.
Ditto to 29 September 1718, looseness, convulsions &c. £2 3s. 4d.
Ditto to 29 September 1719, fits, consumption &c. £3 15s. 10d.
Ditto to 29 September 1720, rheumatism, pains &c. £4 6s. 7d.
Ditto to 29 September 1721, rheumatism, itch, consumption &c. £3 15s. 5d.
Ditto to 29 September 1722, fits &c. £2 17s. 3d.
Ditto to 29 September 1723 £3 13s. 10d.
Ditto to 29 September 1724 £3 3s. 11d.
Ditto to 29 September 1725, fits &c. £2 10s. 3d.
Ditto to 29 September 1726, fits, strangury &c. £1 7s. 9d.
Ditto to 29 September 1727, fevers, agues &c. £2 2s. 11d.
Ditto to 29 September 1728, small pox, fevers, convulsions &c. £4 5s.
£43 9s.

£2 10s. 7d. per year.

122. [p. 148] To the committee, 1 February 1725.

Friends, Our salary in the year 1719 was £40 per year. We then applied to the committee desiring they would advance our salary to £60 per year and the said committee did acknowledge we did deserve it, yet desired we would be easy with £10 per year being added to our salary at present, esteeming it would be easier for them to advance £10 per year sometime after, than to advance £20 at one time. So now it is near 5 years since, therefore, [we] do hope the committee may not esteem our present application hasty or unseasonable. The paper we gave to the committee when we last applied was as follows:

To the committee, 8 February 1720.

Friends, It's not pleasant to use this to apply, yet think ourselves under a necessity to let you understand that we are not thoroughly easy with our present salary, it being now going on nine years since we came to serve the committee and do find ourselves not worth above £5 more than when we came into the house.

And what, with submission, we desire of the committee is that you would please to advance our salary.

We make no private gains to ourselves unknown to you, either directly or indirectly, but give up our whole time and understanding to serve you, esteeming it's but our reasonable duty so to do and we have been here in the very prime of our time.

[p. 149] And if you would please to look back and inspect the increase of our business now to what it formerly has been, as also the trade brought to the house with the income and gains thereon for this seven years last past, likewise a considerable advantage accruing to the house, also to the monthly meetings may easily appear in clothing the ancient friends and children, though we could not have served you in this respect had we been of other business than that which we were brought up to.

We do hope, when things as aforesaid are duly considered, our request may not be thought unreasonable, for we intend well and endeavoured to do accordingly and have always had a due regard in our minds to the committee. And if we had saved considerably every year in your service could not have been more diligent in order to make you and the family entirely easy in all respects.

So friends, desiring we may be preserved faithfully in our trust whilst we are in it, and you esteem us worthy thereof has been at times the sincere desire of us who are with due respects willing to serve you in this post. Richard and Sarah Hutton

Note: our salary are for the service of two persons.

123. [p. 150] Memorandum, to the committee about taking a steward.

In the year 1711 the committee was then in want of two in this post and desirous that they might not be such as were necessitous persons or had miscarried in their own circumstances, no public friend whereby they might be drawn out of the service of the house, nor to have children or to have many to come after them which might prove chargeable to the house. At that time the committee seemed inclinable to conclude they might find it difficult to procure two persons that were suitably qualified that would give their whole time entirely to the service of the house.

Buying the wool right and getting the yarn well spun is what the preservation, also the profit of the trade, seems to depend [on] and such has been the difference of the trade for about 12 years last past to what it was formerly that I could, unknown to any, have (and do suppose out of that article only) made our salary more per year than what we now desire. And at the same time, notwithstanding that, the trade would have appeared very good to what it did formerly, as aforesaid.

Keeping the accounts regular and drawing out the bills, also balancing the said accounts every quarter, likewise receiving and paying all the debts belonging to the house requires time, care and diligence.

Clothing the family, both the aged and the youth, which is attended with many trifling articles which cause pretty much writing, also care and exactness in posting to each particular account in order to write out the monthly meetings' bills.

Buying the provision and managing the family, which is somewhat difficult, also attended with various perplexities [p. 151] as may reasonably be supposed where there are several resolute and discontented persons to be concerned with daily.

Note: our salary is for two persons who are accountable for the whole, and when difficulties of any kind doth attend fails not of coming to our lot. And if this committee sees meet to comply with what is now desired, which [we] do hope, when the aforesaid is well considered, may not be thought unreasonable, . . . do assure you that while we continue in the service of the house shall not desire any further advance of our salary for the future.

Richard Hutton

124. At a committee, 13 September 1725.

The steward having some years since applied to the committee to advance his salary to £60 per annum and now again made the like application, this committee, in consideration of his care and pains with respect to the trade and his wife's conduct and service in the family, do now agree to make his salary £60 per annum to commence from the 29 instant, himself and wife having assured us that they will not at any time hereafter ask any farther advance to said salary and that they will continue in their service so long as they live and are able.

Present: John Plant, chairman, Richard Crafton, Junior, John Vandewall, George De Horn, John Kitchinman, John Bull, Walter Coleman, John Spencer, Daniel Vandewall, Thomas Paris, Cornelius Taylor, Thomas Rhoades, John Whiting.

125. [p. 152] At a committee at the workhouse, 22 November 1714.

Present: Richard Greener, chairman, Samuel Morgan, Abraham Ford, Henry Aldworth, Edward Burford, James Paris, John Davis, Josiah Martin, William Walker South, John West.

Whereas Richard Hutton, the steward, and his wife have laid before the committee the necessity of advancing their salary to £30 per year without which they cannot well content themselves, upon consideration the committee doth agree that £5 be given them at the end of the present year's service besides the £20 granted as a salary; and the committee is willing that £10 be added to the salary of £20 for the future. Copy.

126. At a committee at the workhouse, 14 February 1716.

Richard Collet, chairman, George Wingfield, Abraham Ford, William Kight, Arthur Crossfield, Thomas Crawley, Edward Burford, Thomas Harrison, Joseph Ingram, Samuel Morgan, John Burroughs, John West, William Emmott, Josiah Martin, Henry Aldworth, Richard Partridge, James Paris.

It's agreed for the future that the steward's wages be advanced to forty pounds per annum from last quarter day. Copy.

Without my application.

127. [p. 153] At a committee at the workhouse, 8 February 1720.

Present: John Stanbery, chairman, James Swain, Daniel Gurney, James Harle, John Russell, Thomas Harding, Daniel Vandewall, Charles Benson, William Hodgson, Thomas Underwood, John Lee, Thomas Sandon. Agreed that the steward's wages be advanced to fifty pounds per annum to commence from 25 December 17[blank] last. Copy.

Then was reported a bond of trust was signed by the steward to James Harle and John Lee.

The last minute about the £60 per salary is in page 151 in this book, backwards &c [121].

128. [p. 154] Memorandum.

Josiah Withers came 17 June 1728, which is to 25 March 1729, 40 weeks, in which time he cost the house in provision, viz:

Victuals, fire, washing, &c at 2s. 6d. per week, £5 Schooling 40 weeks at 6d. per week, £1 £6
N.B. Rent, repairs, taxes and other incidents are not included in the above charge.
His allowance for 40 weeks diet, schooling &c at 18d. per week is £3
His earnings since he came, to 25 March 1729 in 31 weeks, 3 days on 100lb. of yarn at 2½d. £1 0s. 10d. £4 0s. 10d.
The house finding cards &c, Lost £1 19s. 2d.

129. Robert Withers came 15 July 1728, whose charge at 25 March 1729, being 36 weeks 6 days since he came at 2s. 6d. per week, £4 11s. 3d.

Schooling at 6d. per week to ditto time, 18s. 5d. £5 9s. 8d.
N.B.: rent &c as above not included.
His allowance for said 36 weeks 6 days maintenance, schooling &c. £2 15s. 3d.
His earnings to 25 March 1729 since he came, being 28 weeks 3 days on 47lb. of yarn at 2½d., 9s. 7½d. £3 4s. 10½d.
The house finding cards, wheels &c, lost £2 4s. 9½d.

130. I think the bigger of these two boys is 16 years of age and . . . when such are taken into the house who frequently have been used to sauntering about at a loose rate &c, then parents perhaps see nothing but ruin [p. 155] to their children without restraint and some education. And it seems to be [no] small difficulty to bring such children to any agreeable behaviour and especially to love improvement in business which appears not to be the design of their being sent in, by the earnest desires of their friends, for their being pushed forward in learning &c for which they were sent, as they say, also because they were to stay in the house but a little till qualified, then hopes I would endeavour to get them good masters when they should go out &c. It would scarcely be credited what trouble the man &c who looks after such (old, wrong managed) children at work is [at] bringing them to do the one half of that which we know well they could do with pleasure if industrious. And if any sharpness be used to bring such children out of bad habits as aforesaid then they complain and are uneasy and are minded, then it doubles the difficulty of . . . getting any thing done as usual by several of the children. And if a person who has the care of said children's work will be as vain amongst the children as themselves are, suffering them to spoil the work and when idle &c, throw the work back again into the pile of wool undone. Such a man will have no uneasiness from parents &c. I have a man now in the third year in that service to whom I have made everything as agreeable as I could & by his faithfulness and diligence in getting the work well done, the goods have been got off beyond expectation, which I do conclude we have great reason to be thankful to providence for considering the large quantity of yarn now on hand. But now this young man is about going into the country being quite tired, esteeming [the] perplexities he goes through at home with said children as well as abroad about them to be hurtful to him both in body and mind. Though in other respects he never expects a place so agreeable, yet for the reasons aforesaid together with confinement &c would not stay at any rate. [p. 156] And except some persons [be employed] who will be honest and industrious and have strength of body with a good disposition and a suitable resolution, your trade will be in danger, which though it may please some, yet do conclude the maintaining so many little helpless children at so small an allowance as 12d. per week, especially when provisions are at an advanced price as for a considerable time has been and though as formerly when the children spun more than now, and few spun it in town, yet the children's work was reckoned at 12s. per week as may be seen in the account given in, and we reckon the same now, and if this small income be lost, it may cause an unexpected running out every year. There is upwards of £9 lost this quarter, which would have been £20 or upwards could we have got all the debts contracted this quarter ready to charge &c. And when the reputation & success which has attended the house for several years is rightly considered doubt not but all well minded friends will desire sincerely that it may providentially be preserved in that reputation which it has gained & still continues amongst several men of note who desire the welfare of said house and of friends in general though not of our society. Also that it may not yearly diminish the stock which formerly was a considerable discouragement to friends in general who had been at the great industry and charge of the first settlement and was supposed to prevent legacies being left because legacies did frequently drop in as soon as the house increased in stock &c the said suppositions seems reasonable.

19 May 1729, or then about &c.

131. [p. 157] Memorandum, 14 June 1729.

Nathaniel Clark in the year 1712 was in a manner quite blind, which was caused by convulsions in his eyes when a child, which yet continue, also made the couching of his eyes (though twice) lose the desired effect. He has for several years been very liable to be unwell and his life has been in danger; we were likewise afraid he would not have had the use of his feet as usual which was supposed to be the effect of the said fits.

If anything happens disagreeable to him it will soon put him out of order, which the fits as aforesaid are supposed to be the cause of, and if not carefully managed according to skilful advice, also supplied with proper medicines, which have been chargeable in times past, might have proved very uncapable of doing any business before this time.

He has been in the house near 17 years, came in at the allowance of 3s. per week (as the ancient friends did). Held there near 2 years at 2s. 6d. and 2s. about 4 years longer and since, to 29 September next, will be eleven years at 1s. 8d. per week. And it is now near 6 years since he has had £4 per year to buy him clothes for the easing the meeting's charge and for his encouragement which we hope may tend to preserve cheerful in his mind, which to be is supposed a great help against fits.

We had an ancient man at 4s. per week who brewed, kept the cellar clean, drawed drink &c and another at 3s. per week who also brewed, drawed drink &c & went errands & carried yarn & did what No. 6 does now. And the committee allowed the diligent should have encouragement & the monthly meetings expect the poor should be serviceable in the family which was agreeable to the directions of the great meeting, also to the orders of the house &c, for if there were not some helpful persons in the house how could the family subsist with the aged, blind, lame, bedridden &c of which some have frequently been in the house belonging to the respective monthly meetings.

132. [p. 158] London, 30 May 1683.

Dear friends, We received the letter and understand the case of the children and also the several precedents quoted to us & also what you say concerning the 18th of Leviticus. But you seem to take no notice of these words in the 6th verse: Thou shall not approach to any of thy near kin. Now, how near will the question be? The advice of friends . . . last year was to forbear marriage till the 4th degree was out. Now you know that father & mother is the first, brother and sister the second, their children the third, & the children's children is the fourth, which the civil law calls second cousins & is thereby forbidden, though not first cousins. Most men believe that those men who . . . met to make that order never thought first cousins would offer to marry, or else would doubtless have forbidden the first as well as the second. So to return to the law of God, which is expressly not to marry any near of kin, which is those of blood.

Now our sense is the blood of the kindred is not out in the sense of the law, either of God or man, till the fourth degree be past, for in the 17th verse there is prohibition of affinity in the third degree. [p. 159] Where there is no blood is yet called near kindred & declared to be wickedness to marry in that degree. So, dear friends, keep to the pure power of God, that keeps all pure & holy, sweet and acceptable to God & answers the life in his people by which the pure unity is preserved amongst you & the whole body of Christ. In his power you will be able to rule the affections & subdue them & break all snares whatsoever [that] are or may be laid for the innocent. Inwardly & outwardly in the fellowship of his power we give you this our tender advice & council, which you may communicate to the young people, your children & friends concerned with you about this matter. So, with our love to you all, from your friends in the truth.

George Fox, Leonard Fell, Robert Lodge, Stephen Crisp, James Park, John Banks.

133. [p. 160] Bishop Tillotson in the 11th sermon of the 7th volume of that part of his works printed after his death from page 324 to the end of said sermon tells us:

It is an observation of Sir Edwin Sands that as children are pleased with toys, so saith he, it is a pitiful and childish spirit that is predominate in the contrivers and zealots of a ceremonious religion. I deny not but that very honest and devout men may be this way addicted but the wiser any man is the better he understands the nature of God and of religion, the further he will be from this temper.

A religion that consists in external and little things, doth most easily gain upon and possess the weakest minds, and whoever entertains it, it will enfeeble their spirits, and unfit them for the more generous and excellent duties of Christianity. We have but a finite heat, and zeal, and activity, and if we let out much of it upon small things there will be too little left for those parts of religion which are of greatest moment and concernment. If our heat evaporate in externals, the heart and vitals of religion will insensibly cool and decline.

How should we blush who are Christians, that we have not learnt this easy truth from the gospel, which even the light of nature taught the heathen: [. . .] the best, the surest, the most chaste and most devout worship of the gods is that which is payed them with a pure sincere and uncorrupt mind, and words truly representing the thoughts of the heart. [. . .] Serve God with a pure, honest, holy frame of spirit, bring . . . a heart that is but generously honest, and he will accept of the plainest sacrifice.

And let me tell you that the ceremonious worship of the Jews was never a thing in itself acceptable to God, or which he did delight in, and though God was pleased with their obedience to the ceremonial law after it was commanded, yet antecedently he did not desire it; but that which our saviour saith concerning the law of divorce is true likewise of the ceremonial, that it was permitted to the Jews for the hardness of their hearts, [p. 161] and for their proneness to idolatry. God did not command it so much by way of approbation as by way of condescension to their weakness. It was because of a hardness of their carnal hearts that God brought them unto the law of a carnal commandment as the apostle calls it. See Psal. 51:16, 17; Jer. 7:21.

The reason why I have insisted so long upon this is to let you understand what is the true nature of Christ's religion. [And to abate the intemperate heat and zeal which men are apt to have for external, indifferent things in religion.] The sacrifices and rites of the Jews were [very unagreeable and unsuitable to] the nature of God; Psal. 50:13. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Spirits neither eat nor drink. It was a very unsuitable way of service to kill oxen and sheep for God, and there's the same reason of all other rites which either natural necessity or decency doth not require . . . [Can] any man in earnest think that God, who is a spirit, is pleased with the pompous bravery and pageantry which affects our senses? So little doth God value indifferent rites, that even the necessary external service of God, and outward reverence, where they are separated from spirit and truth, from real holiness and obedience to the indispensable laws of Christ, are so far from being acceptable to God that they are abominable: nay [if] they be used for a cloak of sin, or in opposition to real religion, and with a design to undermine it. God accounts such service in the number of the most heinous sins.

You, who spent the strength and vigour of your spirits about external things, whose zeal for or against ceremonies is ready to eat you up, you, who hate and prosecute one another because of these things, and break the necessary and indispensable commands of love, as an indifferent and necessary ceremony, go and learn what that means. I will have mercy and not sacrifice, which our saviour doth so often inculcate, and that Rom. 14:17. The kingdom of God is not meat and drink &c. And study the meaning of this, God is a spirit, and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth. (fn. 1)

134. [p. 162] To fine a 30 gallon cask of strong beer or ale.

Take about 2 ounces of the finest & clearest isinglass beat or cut very small, put it into an earthen vessel with as much vinegar (or alligar) as will cover the isinglass. Brush it very well with a whisk twice or thrice a day till it be quite dissolved & as it grows thick put a little more vinegar to it till it becomes a very thick syrup, then strain through a cloth about a pint thereof (or more if over thin), then open the bung of the cask. With a whisk then pour in the strained isinglass, stirring it very well also & bung the cask very close & in 24 hours your drink will be very clear . . . So in proportion may fine any greater or less quantity, but be sure when you put those things into the drink that you make everything so close as that you cannot draw any at the tap without first making a vent at top, lest your drink grow flat. Copy.

135. [p. 163] At a committee held at the workhouse of the people called Quakers at Clerkenwell, 19 May 1729.

John Jennings reports that Jacob Harvey Esq. is ready to pay the remainder of Elizabeth Clay's legacy left to this house. The steward is ordered to receive the same and give him a receipt as usual.

Received the [blank] of July 1729 of Mary Harvey, wife of Jacob Harvey Esq., executor to Elizabeth Clay's deed, the sum of twenty eight pounds seven shillings & six pence, which together with the sum of twenty eight pounds received 23 January 1724 & the sum of seven pounds ten shillings received 12 August 1726 (for which two last sums receipts have been already given) make the sum of sixty three pounds, seventeen shillings & six pence, being in full of a legacy left by the said Elizabeth Clay to the workhouse at Clerkenwell belonging to the people called Quakers. I say, received for the use & by order of the committee of the said workhouse.

By me, Richard Hutton.

136. [pp. 164-6. A rough draft of a paper discussing conditions in the house, Hutton's problems with various residents, and offering possible solutions to those problems. See 141.]

137. [p. 167] N.B.: from 25 March 1717 to 25 March 1719 From No. B (fn. 2)

Day Month Year Page Ch[il]d Week[s] Earned Gained
24 June 1717 396 34 8 £13 12s. £23 7s. 6d.
29 Sept. 397 39 9 £17 11s. £28 8s. 9¾d.
25 December 399 40 8 £16 £35 6s. 3¼d.
25 March 1718 438 33 9 £14 17s. £32 13s. 11¾d.
24 June 439 30 8 £12 £24 16s. 2¾d.
29 Sept.... 483 29 9 £13 1s. £27 7s. 6d.
25 December 497 34 8 £13 12s. £24 18s. 10d.
25 March 1719 104 33 9 £14 17s. £14 10s. 10¼d.
24 June 140 33 8 £13 4s. £19 1s. 2½d.
29 Sept. 152 41 9 £18 9s. £36 14s. 5¾d.
25 December 160 34 8 £13 12s. £28 11s. 7½d.
25 March 1720 167 37 9 £15 3s. £23 8s. 6d.
24 June 176 36 8 £14 8s. £22 4s. 8d.
29 Sept. 180 43 9 £19 7s. £41 8s. 11½d.
25 December 196 47 8 £18 16s. £54 0s. 6d.
25 March 1721 201 40 9 £18 £32 14s. 7d.
24 June 226 45 8 £18 £39 8s. 8¼d.
29 Sept. 236 51 9 £22 19s. £56 15s.
25 December 264 57 8 £22 16s. £56 9s. 10d.
25 March 1722 275 50 9 £22 10s. £20 17s. 0½d.
24 June 304 50 8 £20 £38 5s. 5d.
29 Sept. 311 58 9 £26 2s. £56 0s. 3d.
25 December 321 56 8 £22 8s. £55 9s. 6½d.
25 March 1723 302 47 9 £21 3s. £46 11s. 3½d.
From No. C (fn. 2)
24 June 121 44 8 £17 12s. £49 0s. 8¼d.
29 Sept. 134 42 9 £18 18s. £55 12s. 1½d.
25 December 137 37 8 £14 16s. £45 5s. 0¾d.
25 March 1724 143 34 9 £15 6s. £41 8s. 1¾d.
24 June 148 29 8 £11 12s. £31 16s. 1d.
29 Sept. 153 31 9 £13 19s. £42 12s. 11¼d.
25 December 160 32 8 £12 16s. £39 14s. 8¼d.
25 March 1725 163 34 9 £15 6s. £28 17s. 6d.
24 June 173 38 8 £15 4s. £31 14s.
29 Sept. 190 41 9 £18 9s. £45 14s. 9d.
25 December 203 44 8 £17 12s. £43 16s. 5½d.
£593 17s. £1295 4s. 1¼d.

138. [p. 168] From No. D (fn. 3)

Day Month Year Page Ch[il]d Week[s] Earned Gained
25 March 1726 203 42 9 £18 18s. £32 9s. 1d.
24 June 217 43 8 £17 4s. £24 2s. 4½d.
29 Sept. 247 48 9 £21 12s. £38 10s. 9¼d.
25 December 250 48 10 £24 £31 4s. 3d.
25 March 1727 259 49 9 £22 1s. £29 15s. 4½d.
24 June 252 51 6 £15 6s. £22 0s. 1½d.
29 Sept. 129 54 11 £29 14s. £30 19s. 10¼d.
25 December 119 54 10 £27 11s. 10d. £34 18s. 0¼d.
25 March 1728 123 55 10 £27 10s. £25 0s. 7d.
24 June 130 56 8 £22 8s. £32 15s. 6¾d.
29 Sept. 145 57 11 £31 7s. £34 16s. 4¼d.
25 December 149 55 10 £27 10s. £30 4s 4d.
25 March 1729 158 52 9 £23 8s. £25 15s. 10¾d.
£308 9s. 10d. £392 12s. 7d.
Brought forward £593 17s. £1295 4s. 1¼d.
£902 6s. 10d. £1687 16s. 8¼d.
gained £1687 16s. 8¼d.
earned £902 6s. 10d.
years-12 £2590 3s. 6¼d.

139. [p. 170: there is no page 169.] A physician communicates this well experienced recipe for destroying bugs, with which he entirely cleared his own beds &c five years ago, and has told it to scores of families since, who have all found the same effects by it and never saw a bug afterwards.

Take of the highest rectified spirit of wine (viz. camp spirits that will burn all away dry, and leave not the least moisture behind[)] half a pint; newly distilled oil or spirit of turpentine, half a pint; mix them together and break into it, in small bits, half an ounce of camphor, which will dissolve in it in a few minutes. Shake them well together, and with a sponge, or a brush dipped in some of it, wet very well the bed or furniture wherein those vermin harbour or breed, and it will infallibly kill and destroy both them and their nits, although they swarm ever so much. But then the bed or furniture must be well and thoroughly wet with it, (the dust upon them being first brushed and shook off) by which means it will neither stain, or soil, or in the least hurt the finest silk or damask bed. That is, the quantity here ordered of this curious, neat, white mixture (which costs about a shilling) will rid any one bed whatsoever, though it swarms with bugs. Do but touch a live bug with a drop of it and you will find it to die instantly . . .

140. [p. 171] Having thus at large shown, both from the reason of things and from the practice of men, that the nature or essence of sin consists in a man's suffering himself to be drawn away by the enticements of some appetite, passion or interest, to do what he is sensible is not in itself fit and right, nor agreeable to the will and laws of God; the inference I shall now proceed to draw from this doctrine are briefly as follows:

1st. If every man is then only tempted to sin when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed, the first evident inference from hence is that made by the apostle himself in the words preceeding my text: let no man say, when he is tempted, I am tempted of God. In the reason of things and in the nature of a moral government over the world, there must be proper trials of obedience and disobedience; which the goodness of God does not oblige him to remove because without such trials God's government of the world could not be at all a moral government over rational creatures. But God never tempts any man with design to draw him into sin. Nor will He suffer men to be tempted above what they are able. But will, with the temptation, also make a way to escape, that they may be able to bear it. 1 Cor. 10:13.

2d. No man can, with just reason, lay the blame of his vices upon that nature wherein God has created him, or upon those frailties he may be supposed to have derived from his first parents. For men are not accountable for the appetites of nature, nor for its infirmities any further than they suffer their own wills to be drawn away irregularly, contrary to the reason of things and to the laws of God.

3rd. No man can justly excuse his own wickedness by alleging that he was tempted by the devil. For the devil has no power to tempt men . . . otherwise than as wicked men tempt one another, by suggesting to them the allurement of pleasure and profit. Judas was covetous and a thief, Joh. 12:16, before Satan entered into him to betray his Lord for money. [p. 172] Ananias' crime likewise, Acts v. 3, was not extenuated, but aggravated, by his suffering Satan to fill his heart with deceitfulness and fraud. The prince of the power of darkness, Eph. 11:12, is a spirit that worketh only in the children of disobedience. And the strong delusion that permits him to send upon the world is nothing but the deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that love not the truth, but the devil & who give not place in Him. By yielding to sin He will flee from them, Joh. 4:7, Eph. 4:26, 27, 1 Pet. 5:9. And whosoever keepeth himself, that is guards himself against sin, we know that the wicked one toucheth him not, Joh. 14:30. And of every sincere mind it may in proportion be said in a lower degree, that he finds in it nothing to lay hold upon. This was the security of Abraham. His own heart was perfect with God. And had God in that case permitted Satan to deceive him, where there was not corrupt disposition in his own heart, the deceit had been inevitable, and Satan in that circumstance had not been Satan, but an instrument only in the hand of providence. And the security of every good man is in proportion the same. God will not suffer him to be tempted above what he is able, nor to be deceived where he is not drawn away of his own lust and enticed. Clark 8th vo-35 page.

141. [p. 173] Our last bill of fare, made in the year 1713 & 1714, considerably exceeds the former bill of fare in quantity, also in goodness of the provisions. And some time afterwards the trade of the house was better than formerly it had been and it was not long after before legacies began to drop in more than usual so that the house began to increase in stock, which was soon known abroad and was very agreeable to many friends who knew it or heard of it. But this did not long please all, for in the first place when our family heard of it I was told by some of them and in a very untoward and reflecting manner, saying, we hear that the house begins to save money by the poor, also said, that friends gave not their money to the house with that intent but it was in order that it might be laid out upon the poor to comfort them, and not to be hoard up &c. And in a small time afterwards these kind of reflections was heard abroad relating to pinching the poor and overworking the children &c and that thereby the house saved money every year as aforesaid. These things are observed to show that notwithstanding the provision may be ever so good, and the allowance plentiful yet if our stock increase several of the poor have been liable to conclude that they have not been well used &c, likewise dissatisfaction too frequently appears in the children's parents &c. And it is observable that while there are reporters at home also hearers and encouragers of reports abroad, the house may be liable to be injured in its reputation.

[p. 174] And it has likewise been observed that some of our society who may not have been altogether so agreeable or skilful in their sentiments relating to managing affairs of this nature and notwithstanding that, have been incident to be displeased if their requests or proposals are not complied with and before such who have for several years sincerely & industriously laboured for the good of the house. And through the goodness of providence said house has generally in the most difficult times been favoured with many who have been skilful, industrious and hearty friends to it as aforesaid. But with submission it may notwithstanding this still be feared that while there may [be] a disagreeable and discontented family at home, also too many more incident to hear and give credit to bad reports a reasonable consideration, so . . . thereby the reputation of the house may be lessened.

Hitherto a remedy has not been found to prevent the aforesaid disadvantages which appear so evident that it need no proof because the house has and still doth suffer thereby. But if . . . an agreeable understanding could be come into which might find out a means to accomplish so good an end, [it] might possibly produce these good effects, viz: thankfulness and content in the family, the interest and reputation of the house, also more quietness of mind to such who . . . may have the care or managing the affairs of it &c.

To keep in good order a family made up partially of men and women who are aged and too liable to be discontent, also boys and girls whose parents or other relations . . . has and yet may give much uneasiness, seems to be very [p. 175] difficult to keep in good order as just now observed.

To prevent or somewhat amend the aforesaid disorders which yet may and it's to be feared has been some disadvantage to the house already as aforesaid and in order thereunto it seems, with submission, absolutely necessary to have persons to serve the committee in this trust and government of said house who ought to be such who may be confided in. And when the committee together with the monthly meetings do conclude that they have conscientious persons to serve the committee in their trust who are just not with respect to the committee only, but to the poor of the family also, because doing right by the poor has generally by some been the matter in question.

When the meetings as aforesaid do conclude that they have such persons in this post as may be depended on as such who manage with as much prudence as they are capable, also with regard to justice in their trust in all respects, may it then seem agreeable to the monthly meetings to unanimously discourage such weak and unskilful persons as aforesaid, who by hearing reports give encouragement to the reporters not considering how indirect it is for reports to be brought to them who are persons altogether unconcerned when at the same time it is the care, also practice, of each monthly meeting to choose suitable friends for their representatives in the committee before whom all complaints may be laid heard and if just, redressed, under whose care it is to visit the house to see that things be kept in good order and may be thereby capable to give quarterly or monthly meetings an account thereof as occasions may require in order to preserve a good understanding betwixt the said meetings and the house.

[p. 174: page numbers 174 and 175 are repeated in the original pagination.] And if the said meetings might esteem it convenient to be very hearty in discouraging such who may incline to hear reports by renewing general cautions in the monthly meetings &c from one time to another when reports are spread abroad, it may be a means to discourage such who may be incident to report what may be told them, and that before the persons who may be the subject of such reports are inquired of to know whether they are true or not. And though it may be hoped that there may be many friends who mind not such reports, yet it may reasonably be supposed that diverse honest friends who may like the house very well have been imposed on and made very uneasy thereby. And if such things could be amended do hope that it might make the family more settled easy and thankful and consequently thrive better in body and mind.

And when the reputation of the house is thoroughly settled and carefully kept up from time to time, notwithstanding the false reports or evil surmisings which hath hitherto been, it may yet be hoped that for the future the monthly meetings may not have so much labour and exercise in prevailing with their poor to accept of so plentiful a maintenance but rather to advise or admonish them to walk worthy of so comfortable a provision that may fitly be compared to an estate which they can neither spend nor lose.

142. [pp. 175-7. A selection of accounts covering clothing, victualling, profit and loss, and legacies for selected years between 1718 and 1732.]

143. [p. 178] 1721.

Ed. H. Said thou and thy wife are brave folks indeed, and much valued. This great undertaking has had great success under your management. Providence has wonderfully blessed your endeavours, and though some of the most noted amongst friends (named several) very much exerted themselves in managing said affair, but had not the desired success and that it should take such a happy turn in your hands seems very remarkable, which makes you at present esteemed much.

But notwithstanding in process of time you may expect that there may kings rise up that knew not the affliction of Joseph and then perhaps your labours may not be much more valued than ours who took much pains though had not the desired success.

144. [p. 179] For weak eyes.

Take a new laid egg while it's warm and boil it hard that the yolk may be clear separated from the white. Then take a clean cloth & put the white of the egg in it (and let none of the yolk be in it). Then with clean washed hands squeeze it pretty hard & there will come out of the white about a spoonful of water, if it be right done. Then drop two or three drops of that water into each eye at night in bed & one hour before the person rises in the morning & at noon if the sight be very weak. Always observing to keep the eyes shut half an hour after the drops is put in. In cold weather the drops must be a little warm (because all cold things are hurtful to weak eyes). Put as many of the [drops] as will be used at one time into a clean spoon & hold it towards a clear fire till the cold is just off. Keep the egg water in a cool place in hot weather & when it begins to alter in the smell, get fresh & use the old no more because the old will do harm. The best way to drop it into the eye is with a pigeon feather, they being small at the end.

Be careful never to use it if it be not sweet & no egg will do but one that is new laid and warm.

145. [p. 180] As the just performance of every office in a community ought to be not only the chief subject of their consideration who are deputed thereto but also managed according to the direction of the dispensing power, so it is but reasonable and just that they should in cases of difficulty have recourse to that authority whereunto they are accountable.

Seeing therefore that [the] grappling circumstances the house now struggles under for her reputation require your weightiest thought, I shall give you herein a detail of her present grievances, and with submission to your judgement what dangerous consequences, in my apprehension, may of all probability attend the toleration and indulgence of their authors.

But as my time in your service has not been long so perhaps it may not be productive of as many specimens of ingratitude and discontent as that of some others before me, yet I am of opinion I can upon the challenge meet them with uncommon instances of both, though indeed the plurality of your pensioners may indifferent be excepted from either, provided they have the utmost stretch of that liberty that your orders allow them. But in consideration of the privileges providence has here possessed them of under so just an administration no wonder the actions express the last degree of thankfulness and peaceable behaviour, the contrary whereof has of late been too much the unhappiness of some and still is, but especially amongst the women whose mutual jars and contention sufficiently tell us how insensible they are of the good design of those accommodations where with they might spin out a happy old age.

[p. 181] I need not here put the affront upon your memories to produce every example of misconduct hinted at, the various writings already laid before you giving sufficient proof thereof.

But to come to the subject of all our hardships, the great and most palpable grievance which now seems to crave your attention is the unnecessary communication of parents with children at the house . . .

1. How unnecessary it is (no extraordinary occasion as sickness &c requiring it) I am of opinion you will not long be unsensible, not only at the expense of your trade but the reputation of every important service in the family unless remedied by your unanimous endeavours. For the time of their going home with the two-fold learning and moderate exercise, privilege of their education, considered . . . they doubtless are unparallel with many in the circumstances. Nay this I know, that many children and young men of much better fashion than this house generally affords have, do and doubtless will, live at such a distance from their parents as not to see them some years together during which abdication they have approved themselves more manly and studious than whilst under the caresses of an unweaned and frivolous affection. And should these maintained on your charity claim greater indulgence than they? Nay, they have it and are not content . . . which is . . . [considered] really unpardonable . . . [by] all our modern [p. 182] as well as ancient masters of education. For we cannot place these who must expect a livelihood from their own labour and industry on an equal level with those who [have] the advantage of a more liberal education.

2. The sad consequence of such communication have doubtless been too notorious to escape your notice wholly. For as there is in all children a propensity to endure no restraint, evade their known duty & readily . . . to embrace any means for that very purpose, so by the success we are eye witnesses they have, we are certain their parents contribute no little to the strengthening that disposition, giving ear to their partial tittle-tattle against your servants and the quibbling and false reports of their work &c, which with their own abusive and unmannerly treatment of us and the contempt they have shown of the house has been enough to pattern them into their disorder; for what can teach them readier than example. Nor must it be here omitted that such children as at their first coming have been modest and well inclined (though they have had no parents living or such as were orderly and respectful) have notwithstanding our endeavours to the contrary been exampled into the same practices. Besides who can pass by those dangerous habits of spoiling or neglecting their work. They is faithful in your service without reasonable resentment though it be to the hazarding their reputation, for diverse there are and not of the meanest sort who being too [p. 183] credulous have through partial information been beguiled with prejudice against our management.

Another misfortune attends this undue treatment we have often put up with, which has within the verge of my short time been too obvious, is that servants, apprentices &c hearing and seeing their master and mistress so contemptuously and lightly treated and the house abused without any so much as formal censure passed upon their repeated insults - having by . . . some buddings of ill manners already shown how far they copy after them. Nay, can't it be expected that they who ought to be so immediately under the dictate and regard of their governors as apprentices &c can pay that due respect and deference to them, when they themselves see such flagrant instances of abuse . . . still continued as if unresented.

But considering the many workhouses now in the city and suburbs partly upon the same business with yours you will find such disorders strike at the very root of her reputation.

So that not only the support of us in our respective duties as well as the reformation of manners but also the very basis of your establishment now requires your speedy succour which in my apprehension you cannot contribute to until all communication of parents with children at the house be entirely cut off (except in case of sickness or the like) by a firm order to the contrary.

And as you have formerly succeeded well in the removal of many grievances, so now we hope our joint endeavours to preserve that harmony and concord which . . . [p. 184] together with your concurrence is the best means to accomplish the design, will not now fall short of equal success against this last struggle and ultimate effort of common assailants.
Henry Elbeck.

146. To the committee, 24 January 1732.

Friends, I desire you would please to take into consideration some methods as you may think fit about a new bill of fare or otherwise that there may for the future be no reflection cast upon the plentiful provision of the house, which may prove a great disadvantage to it, especially if any of your own members should appear dissatisfied in that respect. Besides the hard censures I and especially my wife may be liable to, having the managing said house under you, . . . we cannot possibly be easy except you & the family are easy also, which always was great satisfaction to us, who desired to make you and the family easy, esteeming it but our reasonable duty.

Richard Hutton

147. [p. 185] At a committee, 9 October 1727.

Present Thomas How, Robert Deeklair, George De Horn, Robert Sherrwin, Thomas Rhoades, John Jennings, Thomas Paris, John Plant, Josiah Fooks, Richard Crafton, Thomas Baskervill, Thomas Reynolds. This committee having frequent complaints of the great inconveniency of the children running away from this house and thereby taking the opportunity of telling diverse notorious lies to the prejudice of the same and scandalizing the government thereof, this committee therefore resolve it shall be a standing rule not to allow the steward to receive again any such child till the monthly meeting to which the child belongs request it. Copy.

148. At a committee, 17 April 1732.

John Barnard, John Gopsill, William Howard, Richard Robins, Benjamin Bell, William Cakly, Thomas Rhoades, Jacob Bell, John Jennings, Edward Wood, Anthony Neat, Jacob Foster, Thomas How, Cornelius Taylor.

It appearing to this committee that diverse reports have been spread of severity used by the steward and other servants in this house and on examining said reports they appear groundless, this committee therefore desires the members of it to discourage such reports as much as in their power. And when any complaints are made to them, to direct said complainers to attend the next committee in order to have . . . [p. 186] the said complaints heard and justly determined. This with the cautionary minute of 4 December 1727 to be continued to be read to every new member. Copy.

149. [p. 187. An account of money earned and gained from the manufacture of mop yarn between 1717 and 1725.]


  • 1. John Tillotson, The works of the most Reverend Dr John Tillotson, late Lord Archbishop of Canterbury: containing two hundred sermons and discourses (2nd ed., 1717) i, 754-5. Words etc. in square brackets appear in the text but not in Hutton's excerpt.
  • 2. FSSWA, 'Ledgers B, C'.
  • 3. FSSWA, 'Ledger D'.