List of commissions and officials: 1830-1839 (nos. 12-28)

Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 9, Officials of Royal Commissions of Inquiry 1815-1870. Originally published by University of London, London, 1984.

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'List of commissions and officials: 1830-1839 (nos. 12-28)', in Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 9, Officials of Royal Commissions of Inquiry 1815-1870, (London, 1984) pp. 16-28. British History Online [accessed 20 April 2024]

In this section


Thirteen Commissioners were appointed in January 1830 to inquire into the jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical courts of England and Wales, and into the course of proceeding in suits instituted in them. (fn. 1) Their number was increased to sixteen in July 1830. (fn. 2) The Commissioners issued, at the request of the Lord Chancellor, a special report dated 25 January 1831 on the jurisdiction of the court of delegates, and completed their general report on 15 February 1832 (HC 199 pp. 5, 9 (1831-2) xxiv, 5, 9). Alexander, who was abroad, did not sign the general report. (fn. 3) The Bishops of Lincoln and Exeter and Wynford did not sign the special report.

The Commissioners were unsalaried. Their Secretary, named in the commission, was awarded a salary of £500. (fn. 4)

Commissioners 28 Jan. 1830 London, Bishop of; Durham, Bishop of; Lincoln, Bishop of; Exeter, Bishop of; Gloucester, Bishop of; Tenterden, Lord; Wynford, Lord; Tindal, Sir N. C.; Alexander, Sir W.; Nicholl, Sir J.; Robinson, Sir C.; Jenner, Sir H.; Lushington, S. (C 66/4359).

5 July 1830 Canterbury, Archbishop of; Carrington, Sir C. E.; Fergusson, R. C. (C 66/4364).

Secretary 28 Jan. 1830 Murray, C. K. (C 66/4359).

13. POOR LAWS 1832-4

Eight Commissioners were appointed in 1832 to inquire into the practical operation of the laws for the relief of the poor in England and Wales and to report within one year what improvements might be made in them or in the manner of administering them. (fn. 5) Although not named first in the commission, Senior took the leading role and conducted all correspondence with the Home Office. In June 1832 one of the Commissioners, Bishop, and an Assistant Commissioner, Cowell, conducted a successful trial investigation in Eastern England, and between July 1832 and January 1833 at least twenty-four additional Assistant Commissioners were appointed to conduct investigations on behalf of the commission. (fn. 6) The investigations were completed by March 1833 when the commission technically ceased, and extracts from some of the Assistant Commissioners' reports were published in 1833. (fn. 7) To assist with the preparation of the report itself, one of the Assistant Commissioners, Chadwick, was promoted to the commission in April 1833. (fn. 8) The report was completed in March 1834 and presented to the House of Commons with the reports of the Assistant Commissioners and all other appendices (HC 44 (1834) xxvii-xxxix).

The Commissioners were unsalaried. The Assistant Commissioners received no remuneration, but were awarded a subsistence allowance of £1 a day in addition to their travelling expenses. (fn. 9) The commission's first Secretary, Taylor, who was named in the commission was awarded a salary of £800. (fn. 10) On his resignation, he was replaced by a Secretary at £400 a year and an Assistant Secretary at £300 a year, both appointed by the Commissioners. (fn. 11) The salary of the Assistant Secretary was reduced to £200 in October 1832. (fn. 12)

Commissioners 17 March 1832 London, Bishop of; Chester, Bishop of; Sturges Bourne, W.; Senior, N. W.; Bishop, H.; Gawler, H.; Coulson, W.; Traill, J. (C 66/4404).

April 1833 Chadwick, E. (Finer, Chadwick, 49).

Assistant Commissioners

2 June 1832 Cowell, J. W. (HO 43/42 p. 116).
9 July 1832 Codd, H. G. (ibid. p. 179).
9 July 1832 Chadwick, E. (ibid.).
27 July 1832 Wylde, W. (ibid. p. 246).
27 July 1832 Pringle, J. W. (ibid.).
27 July 1832 Tufnell, E. C. (ibid.).
by 2 Aug. 1832 Chapman, J. J. (HO 36/22 pp. 379-80).
by 2 Aug. 1832 Henderson, G. (ibid.).
by 2 Aug. 1832 Majendie, A. (ibid.).
8 Aug. 1832 Okeden, D. O. P. (HO 43/42 p. 277).
8 Aug. 1832 Tweedy, J. D. (ibid.).
8 Aug. 1832 Maclean, C. H. (ibid.).
8 Aug. 1832 Villiers, C. P. (ibid.).
16 Aug. 1832 Walcott, S. (ibid. p. 305).
5 Sept. 1832 Lewis, A. J. (ibid. p. 365).
5 Sept. 1832 Stuart, H. (ibid.).
10 Sept. 1832 Johnston, P. F. (ibid. p. 381).
14 Sept. 1832 Everett, H. (ibid.).
14 Sept. 1832 Moylan, D. C. (ibid.).
28 Sept. 1832 Wilson, J. (ibid. p. 425).
28 Sept. 1832 Pilkington, R. W. (ibid.).
28 Sept. 1832 Pilkington, H. (ibid.).
28 Sept. 1832 Carmalt, W. (ibid.).
by 30 Nov. 1832 Power, A. (HO 43/43 p. 73).
8 Jan. 1833 Richardson, J. J. (ibid. pp. 156-8).
Secretary 17 March 1832 Taylor, G. (fn. 13) (C 66/4404).

17 July 1832 Revans, J. vice Taylor (HO 43/42 p. 188).

Assistant Secretary 17 July 1832 Froude, J. J. (fn. 14) (ibid).

22 Nov. 1832 Bissett, A. vice Froude (T 1/4102, minute of commission, 22 Nov. 1832).


Twenty-four Commissioners were appointed in 1832 to inquire into the revenues and patronage belonging to the archiepiscopal and episcopal sees, all cathedral and collegiate churches and all ecclesiastical benefices in England and Wales. (fn. 15) The number of Commissioners fell to twenty-three on the death of Tenterden. The commission issued an interim report dated 16 June 1834 (HC 523 (1834) xxiii, 5) and a full report dated 16 June 1835 ([67] HC (1835) xxii, 15). The interim report was not signed by the Bishop of Durham, Inglis or Gaisford. The full report was not signed by the Bishop of Durham, Tindal or Inglis.

The Commissioners were unsalaried. Their Secretary, named in the commission, was awarded a salary of £600. (fn. 16)

Commissioners 23 June 1832 Canterbury, Archbishop of; York, Archbishop of; Lansdowne, Marquess of; Harrowby, Earl of; London, Bishop of; Durham, Bishop of; Lincoln, Bishop of; Bangor, Bishop of; Tenterden, Lord; (fn. 17) Wynford, Lord; Tindal, Sir N. C.; Sturges Bourne, W.; Goulburn, H.; Williams Wynn, C. W.; Nicholl, Sir J.; Inglis, Sir R. H.; Littleton, E. J.; Lushington, S.; Gaisford, T.; Chandler, G.; Wordsworth, C.; Allen, J.; Thorp, C.; Jones, H. C. (C 66/4407).

Secretary 23 June 1832 Roberts, W. (ibid.).


Fifteen Commissioners were appointed in April 1833 to collect information in the manufacturing districts of Great Britain as to the employment of children in factories, as to the effect of such employment on their morals and bodily health and as to the propriety and means of curtailing the hours of their labour. (fn. 18) Required to report so as to enable Parliament to legislate on the subject during the session of 1833, Tooke, the Chief Commissioner, Chadwick and Smith formed a Central Board to prepare a general report and to frame instructions for the twelve other Commissioners, who were assigned to four districts to collect information. (fn. 19) A first report was signed by the Central Commissioners on 25 June 1833 and issued with the evidence gathered from the four districts (HC 450 (1833) xx); a second report, accompanied by the reports of three of the 'medical' Commissioners, Hawkins, Barry and Loudon, followed on 13 July 1833 (HC 519 (1833) xxi). Statistical information and the replies to printed queries issued by the commission were gathered together in a supplementary report dated 15 February 1834 (HC 167 (1834) xix, 259 and xx).

The Commissioners and their Secretary, named in the commission, were all awarded allowances of £200 for their services, in addition to their actual travelling expenses. (fn. 20)

Commissioners 19 April 1833 Hawkins, F. B.; Smith, T. S.; Barry, Sir D.; Tooke, T.; Horner, L.; Drinkwater, J. E.; Mackintosh, R. J.; Stuart, J.; Cowell, J. W.; Tufnell, E. C.; Power, A.; Chadwick, E.; Woolriche, S.; Spencer, J.; Loudon, C. (C 66/4419).

Secretary 19 April 1833 Wilson, J. (ibid.).


Twenty Commissioners were appointed in 1833 to inquire as to the state of municipal corporations. They were required to report within six months and to proceed with the utmost dispatch to collect information respecting the defects in the the corporations' constitutions so as to enable Parliament to legislate on the subject early in the 1834 session. (fn. 21) To gather this information the last eighteen named Commissioners were sent out in September 1833 in pairs to nine areas of the country. (fn. 22) Blackburne, the Chief Commissioner, remained at the commission's London office and Palgrave began work on the inquiry into the City of London. A preliminary report, dated 17 January 1834, merely recorded that within the six months allowed to them, the Commissioners had inquired into the state of 251 corporations and that reports on 85 had been completed. (fn. 23) The substantive report (HC 116 (1835) xxiii-xxvi), to which were appended reports on the individual corporations, was not presented to the House of Commons until 30 March 1835. (fn. 24) The task of drawing up the report had been undertaken almost exclusively by the Chief Commissioner and the Secretary, with little consultation with the other Commissioners. Fifteen of them, however, joined with Blackburne in signing the report. Of the four who did not sign, Whitcombe was dead and Gambier was abroad. Palgrave and Hogg refused to sign a report to which they had been unable to contribute. Palgrave's dignified protest was laid before the House of Commons by Goulburn, the Home Secretary of the short-lived Conservative administration, in April 1835. (fn. 25) Hogg's protest which was delivered to Russell, the Home Secretary of a Whig ministry in June 1835, received less favourable treatment, Russell refusing to present it either to the King or to the House. (fn. 26) It was, however, printed pursuant to an address dated 24 July 1835. (fn. 27) Hogg's case was complicated by the fact that he had failed to complete reports on many of the boroughs which he had visited. After a lengthy dispute the majority of these reports were finally presented to the House and printed in 1837. (fn. 28) A supplementary report on the corporation of London and the City companies (HC 239 (1837) xxv) was also completed in 1837. It was signed only by Blackburne and the four Commissioners (Palgrave, Jardine, Ellis and Drinkwater) who had been responsible for conducting the inquiry.

At the outset of the inquiry, it had been calculated that reports on the boroughs could be gathered in two months and accordingly a sum of £200 was offered to each Commissioner. (fn. 29) The time taken was in most cases much longer, and it was left to Blackburne to calculate the length of service of each Commissioner and to allocate payment at the rate of £100 a month. (fn. 30) Blackburne himself was remunerated at the rate of £150 a month for the first year of the inquiry and at the rate of £75 a month for the following half year. (fn. 31) The Secretary, named in the commission, was awarded a sum of £1,200 for the period 1 September 1833 to 1 September 1834, and a sum of £450 for the period 1 September 1834 to 1 June 1835. (fn. 32)

Commissioners 18 July 1833 Blackburne, J.; Palgrave, Sir F.; Long, G.; Dwarris, F. W. L.; Rumball, S. A.; Wilkinson, G. H.; Hogg, T. J.; Bingham, P.; Jardine, D.; Whitcombe, R.; (fn. 33) Drinkwater, J. E.; Gambier, E. J.; (fn. 34) Ellis, T. F.; Booth, J.; Roscoe, H.; Austin, C.; Rushton, E.; Cockburn, A.J. E.; Buckle, J.; Maude, D. (C 66/4422).

Secretary 18 July 1833 Parkes, J. (ibid.).


a. 1833-4

Five Commissioners were appointed in 1833 to inquire into the practicability and expediency of consolidating the different departments connected with the civil administration of the army. (fn. 35) The commission took evidence and its chairman, Richmond, produced a draft report, but discussion of it was prevented by his retirement from the cabinet in May 1834. (fn. 36) Thereafter the Commissioners do not appear to have met together.

Commissioners 7 Dec. 1833 Richmond, Duke of; Russell, Lord J.; Ellice, E.; Kempt, Sir J.; Dundas, Sir R. L. (C 66/4427).

Secretary 7 Dec. 1833 Bisset, Sir J. (ibid.).

b. 1835-7

In December 1835, the commission appointed two years previously was revoked and an entirely new commission of six members was appointed to carry out the same inquiry. (fn. 37) It produced a unanimous report dated 21 February 1837 ([78] HC (1837) xxiv (pt. 1), 1).

Commissioners 14 Dec. 1835 Howick, Viscount; Palmerston, Viscount; Strafford, Lord; Russell, Lord J.; Hobhouse, Sir J. C.; Spring Rice, T. (C 66/4466).

Secretary 14 Dec. 1835 Bisset, Sir J. (ibid.).

All the Commissioners were unsalaried. Their Secretary, Bisset, named in both commissions, was an officer on half-pay. He was awarded the difference between his full-pay and his half-pay during his period of service as Secretary. (fn. 38)

18. COUNTRY RATES 1834-6

Four Commissioners were appointed in 1834 to inquire into the grounds of any total or partial exemption claimed by any place from the county rate; into the taxation and payment of the costs of prosecutions; and into the receipt of fees claimed by all officers concerned in the local administration of justice or in the charge of prisoners throughout England and Wales. (fn. 39) They issued a preliminary report on 11 August 1835 (HC 508 (1835) xxxvi, 17) and a full report on 16 June 1836 ([58] HC (1836) xxvii, 1; [97] HC (1837) xxxiii, 1).

Of the Commissioners, Hodges and Shaw Lefevre, who were Members of the House of Commons, received no remuneration; Stephen and Dwarris were awarded an allowance of £800 for their services. Their Secretary, named in the commission, was awarded an allowance of £600. (fn. 40)

Commissioners 5 Nov. 1834 Stephen, H. J.; Hodges, T. L.; Shaw Lefevre, C.; Dwarris, F. W. L. (C 66/4444).

Secretary 5 Nov. 1834 Faulkner, G. (ibid.).


Twelve Commissioners were appointed in 1835 to inquire into the state of the several dioceses of the established church with reference to the amount of their revenues and the more equal distribution of episcopal duties and into the state of the cathedral and collegiate churches; and to devise the best method of providing for the cure of souls with special reference to the residence of clergy on their benefices. (fn. 41) Before the fall of the Conservative administration to which it owed its appointment, the commission issued a first report, dated 17 March 1835 on the state of the dioceses (HC 54 (1835) xxii, 1). The fall of the Conservative administration in April 1835 led to the resignations of its four ministerial members, who were replaced by five members of the new Whig administration. (fn. 42) Three further reports were issued on 4 March 1836 (HC 86 (1836) xxxvi, 1), 20 May 1836 (HC 280 (1836) xxxvi, 47) and 24 June 1836 (HC 387 (1836) xxxvi, 61), containing the commission's final proposals. The creation in 1836 of a statutory and permanent Ecclesiastical Commission composed of the same members effectively brought the work of the commission of inquiry to an end, although it was not until 1837 that it expired on the demise of the crown. (fn. 43) The Secretary then transmitted to the Home Office the draft of a fifth report (HC 66 (1837-8) xxviii, 9).

The Commissioners were unsalaried. Their Secretary, appointed by the Commissioners, was awarded a salary of £800. (fn. 44)

Commissioners 4 Feb. 1835 Canterbury, Archbishop of; Lyndhurst, Lord (fn. 45); York, Archbishop of; Harrowby, Earl of; London, Bishop of; Lincoln, Bishop of; Gloucester, Bishop of; Peel, Sir R. (fn. 45); Goulburn, H. (fn. 45); Williams Wynn, C. W. (fn. 45); Hobhouse, H.; Jenner, Sir H. (C 66/4449).

6 June 1835 Pepys, Sir C. C.; Lansdowne, Marquess of; Melbourne, Viscount; Russell, Lord J.; Spring Rice, T. vice Lyndhurst, Peel, Goulburn and Williams Wynn (C 66/4458).

Secretary 11 Feb. 1835 Murray, C. K. (fn. 46) (MS minutes, pp. 11-12).


Seven Commissioners were appointed in 1835 to inquire into the several methods of punishment then authorised and in use for the maintenance of discipline and the prevention of crime in the army and to report whether it might be practicable to dispense with the power of inflicting corporal punishment. (fn. 47) They reported on 15 March 1836 ([59] HC (1836) xxii).

The Commissioners were unsalaried. Their Secretary, named in the commission, was awarded an allowance of £300 for his services. (fn. 48)

Commissioners 4 March 1835 Wharncliffe, Lord; Kempt, Sir J.; Sandon, Viscount; East, Sir E. H.; Fergusson, R. C.; Barnes, Sir E.; Reynell, Sir T. (C 66/4451).

Secretary 4 March 1835 Collin, G. (ibid.).

21. PILOTAGE 1835-6

Seven Commissioners were appointed in 1835 to inquire into the laws, regulations and practices under which pilots were appointed, governed and paid in the British Channel and the approaches to the Port of London and the other principal ports of the United Kingdom; and to report whether the system of pilotage was well adapted to the mercantile interests of the country. (fn. 49) They reported on 25 February 1836 ([56] HC (1836) xxviii, 1).

The Commissioners were unsalaried. They were served by a Secretary, appointed by the Commissioners with the Home Secretary's approval, at a salary of £300. (fn. 50)

Commissioners 13 April 1835 Lowther, Viscount; Bute, Marquess of; Hardy, Sir T. M.; Robinson, G. R.; Chapman, A.; Beaufort, F.; Wigram, O. (C 66/4454).

Secretary by 24 April 1835 Rawson, R. W. (HO 43/46 pp. 353-6).


Three Commissioners were appointed in March 1836 to inquire into the fees, perquisites, gratuities and emoluments received by officials in the public offices on the civil list establishment, and in the Earl Marshal's office and the College of Arms; and to report what regulations might be established respecting them. (fn. 51) They reported on 28 December 1836 ([72] HC (1837) xxxiv (pt. i), 201).

The Commissioners were unsalaried. Their Secretary, appointed by the Commissioners, was in receipt of an official salary as Law Clerk in the Treasury (fn. 52) and also received no remuneration.

Commissioners 11 March 1836 Conyngham, Marquess; Albemarle, Earl of; Baring, F. T. (C 66/4473).

Secretary 26 March 1836 Hankins, R. (T 90/183 p. 6).


Twelve Commissioners were appointed in 1836 to inquire into the state, custody and authenticity of non-parochial registers of births, marriages and deaths; into the measures to be adopted for collecting them and depositing them in the office of the Registrar General of Births, Deaths and Marriages; and into the measures to be adopted for facilitating their production as evidence in courts of law. (fn. 53) They reported on 18 June 1838 ([148] HC (1837-8) xxviii, 377). Bowring did not sign the report.

The Commissioners were unsalaried. Their Secretary, appointed by the Commissioners, was awarded an allowance of £700 for his services. (fn. 54)

Commissioners 13 Sept. 1836 Phillimore, J.; Tancred, H. W.; Taylor, E.; Rees, T.; Bowring, J.; Nicholl, J.; Winter, R.; Gale, S.; Parker, J.; Phillipps, S. M.; Lister, T. H.; Shoveller, J. (C 66/4487).

Secretary Sept. 1836 Burn, J. S. ([148] p. 7 HC (1837-8) xxviii, 383).


Three Commissioners were appointed in 1836 to inquire as to the best means of establishing an efficient constabulary force in the counties of England and Wales. (fn. 55) They issued a first report on 27 March 1839 ([169] HC (1839) xix, 1), which dealt with 'the evidence as to the state of crime . . . the case for the organisation of a police force and the principles of its organisation'. Evidence had been collected for a further report which was to treat of 'the action of a police when organised'. 'We shall endeavour to show what a police may do . . . and what must be done by the public themselves', Chadwick told the Home Secretary in May 1840. (fn. 56) But the Commissioners' and notably Chadwick's absorption in other official duties, prevented its ever being completed. (fn. 57) After August 1840 the letterbook is empty save for returns to inquiries from the House of Commons, all of which reported lack of progress. Chadwick thought of reviving the commission in both 1847 and 1855; and as late as 1867 expenditure was incurred on the purchase of a copy of a statute. (fn. 58)

The Commissioners were unsalaried. Their Secretary, a Home Office Clerk appointed by the Commissioners, was awarded one payment of £300 in 1838. (fn. 59)

Commissioners 20 Oct. 1836 Shaw Lefevre, C.; Rowan, C.; Chadwick, E. (C 66/4490).

Secretary by 25 Oct. 1836 Redgrave, S. (Chadwick papers 6, p. 1).


Four Commissioners were appointed in 1837 to inquire into the condition of the unemployed handloom weavers in Great Britain and Ireland and to report whether any measures could be devised for their relief. (fn. 60) As the Commissioners were unsalaried they were authorised to appoint up to five Assistant Commissioners to visit and collect information in the districts where handloom weavers were employed. (fn. 61) In June 1838 they were permitted to appoint a further five Assistant Commissioners, but chose instead to appoint only four and to use the money set aside for one of the additional Assistants to meet the expenses of sending two of the Assistant Commissioners to the continent and the Secretary to the Midlands to collect information. (fn. 62) The reports of the Assistant Commissioners were printed and presented to Parliament as they became available: Symons on Scotland south of the Forth and Clyde and on Switzerland, Austria, France and Belgium, and Harding on East Scotland (HC 159 (1839) xlii, 511); Mitchell on East England, Austin on South West England and Keyser on the West Riding, Macclesfield and Germany (HC 43- 1 (1840) xxiii, 49); Chapman on the West Riding, Otway on Ireland and Muggeridge on the linen and cotton manufactures of Ireland (HC 43-11 (1840) xxiii, 367); Miles on Western England and Wales and Muggeridge on North West England ([220] HC (1840) xxiv, 373). The Secretary, Fletcher, reported on the Midland district ([217] HC (1840) xxiv, 1) and one of the Commissioners, Hickson, reported on a tour of most of the weaving districts (HC 639 (1840) xxiv, 639). The report of the commission itself was dated 19 February 1841 ([296] HC (1841) x, 273).

The Commissioners received no remuneration. The Assistant Commissioners were awarded an allowance of £100 for their services in addition to their actual travelling expenses and an expenses allowance of one guinea a day while travelling. (fn. 63) The Secretary, named in the commission, was awarded an allowance of £300 for his services. (fn. 64)

Commissioners 14 Sept. 1837 Senior, N. W.; Loyd, S. J.; Hickson, W. E.; Leslie, J. (C 66/4509).

Assistant Commissioners (fn. 65)

30 Dec. 1837 Miles, W. A. (HO 74/1 p. 120).
30 Dec. 1837 Otway, C. G. (ibid.).
30 Dec. 1837 Symons, J. C. (ibid.).
30 Dec. 1837 Muggeridge, R. M. (ibid.).
by 28 Feb. 1838 Mitchell, J. (HC 346 p. 44 (1837-8) xxxvi, 234).
28 July 1838 Chapman, H. S. (HO 74/1 pp. 161-2).
28 July 1838 Harding, J. D. (ibid.).
28 July 1838 Keyser, S. (ibid.).
28 July 1838 Austin, A. (ibid.).

Secretary 14 Sept. 1837 Fletcher, J. (C 66/4509).


Fifteen Commissioners were appointed in 1838 to inquire into the several modes of promotion and retirement granted to officers of the naval and military forces and to ascertain the comparative situation of the officers in each branch. (fn. 66) The number of Commissioners was reduced to thirteen in 1839 on the deaths of Williams and Hardy. They reported on 26 March 1840 ([235] HC (1840) xxii). Labouchere did not sign the report.

The Commissioners were unsalaried. Their Secretary, named in the commission, was awarded an allowance of £1,000 for his services. (fn. 67)

Commissioners 3 May 1838 Wellington, Duke of; Richmond, Duke of; Minto, Earl of; Melville, Viscount; Howick, Viscount; Hill, Lord; Labouchere, H.; Adam, Sir C.; Kempt, Sir J.; Hardy, Sir T. M. (fn. 68); Cockbum, Sir G.; Vivian, Sir R. H.; Dickson, Sir A.; Hardinge, Sir H.; Williams, Sir R. (fn. 69) (C 66/4530).

Secretary 3 May 1838 Collin, G. (ibid.).

27. ROADS 1839-40

Seven Commissioners were appointed in May 1839 to inquire into the condition of the roads in England and Wales; into the state of their accounts; and into the extent to which the securities held by creditors on turnpike road bonds had been affected by the introduction of railways and the abolition of statute labour. (fn. 70) The number of Commissioners fell to five in June 1839 and was increased to six in January 1840. (fn. 71) The Commissioners reported on 17 July 1840 ([256, 280] HC (1840) xxvii, 1, 15).

The Commissioners, all of whom were peers or members of the House of Commons, were unsalaried. Their Secretary, appointed by the Commissioners, was awarded an allowance of £500 for his services. (fn. 71)

Commissioners 10 May 1839 Richmond, Duke of; Salisbury, Marquess of; Eliot, Lord; Hatherton, Lord; Lascelles, Hon. W. S. S.; Lewis, T. F. (fn. 72); Shaw Lefevre, C. (fn. 73) (C 66/4566).

31 Jan. 1840 Sanford, E. A. (C 66/4587).

Secretary by 26 June 1839 Pratt, J. T. (HO 36/25 p. 227).


Eleven Commissioners were appointed in 1839 to inquire into the state and administration of the laws relating to bankrupts and insolvent debtors. They were required particularly to consider whether the several courts by which the laws were administered might be united or so arranged as to co-operate with and assist each other, and by what means the full benefit of the laws might be secured to the country districts. The quorum was fixed at three, two of whom at least were to be drawn from the first five named Commissioners, who were members of the legal profession. (fn. 74) They reported on 30 July 1840 ([274] HC (1840) xvi). Law, Crawford and Hankey did not sign the report. Law 'strongly opposed' it and his minority report ([289] HC (1841) xii, 1) was submitted to the House of Commons on 4 February 1841. (fn. 75)

The Commissioners were unsalaried. A Secretary, William Vizard (the Lord Chancellor's Secretary of Bankrupts), and an Assistant Secretary, his son of the same name, were both named in the commission and served without salary.

Commissioners 18 Nov. 1839 Erskine, Hon. T.; Evans, J.; de Grenier Fonblanque, J. S. M.; Holroyd, E.; Law, W. J.; Crawford, W.; Ellis, W.; Hawes, B.; Hankey, T. A.; Glyn, G. C.; Palmer, J. H. (C 66/4581).

Secretary 18 Nov. 1839 Vizard, W. (ibid.).

Assistant Secretary 18 Nov. 1839 Vizard, W. (ibid.).


  • 1. LPGS 28 Jan. 1830 (C 66/4359). Two copies of the commission's minutes are held by the Church Commissioners, 1 Millbank, London SW1P 3JZ.
  • 2. LPGS 5 July 1830 (C 66/4364). The three newly appointed Commissioners had in fact attended meetings since 8 May (MS minutes p. 37). The sealing of the new commission was no doubt delayed by the illness and death of George IV. From the date of his official appointment, the Archbishop of Canterbury became chairman of the commission.
  • 3. MS minutes, 15 Feb. 1832.
  • 4. MS minutes, pp. 77-8, 83-5, 89.
  • 5. LPGS 17 March 1832 (C 66/4404). The history of poor law reform has formed the subject of many studies. One of the most recent, A. Brundage, The making of the new poor law (1978), contains the fullest account of the work of the commission (pp. 15-45), and its bibliography (pp. 191-6) lists earlier studies.
  • 6. The Assistant Commissioners were appointed by the commission, for which no papers have survived. The list contains only the names of those Assistant Commissioners who reported and claimed expenses. Appointments are dated by reference to the Home Secretary's letter of recommendation, which appears to have been issued to them soon after their appointments, or by reference to the Home Secretary's letter to the commission approving appointments. An attempt was made in August and September 1832 to enlist the aid of the stipendiary Charity Commissioners (HO 43/42 pp. 312-13, 335-6, 365, 425-6). They had little time, however, and only two, C. H. Cameron and J. Wrottesley, submitted a report (HC 44 p. 151A (1834) xxviii (pt. i), 151).
  • 7. Extracts from the information received by His Majesty's Commissioners as to the administration and operation of the poor laws (1833).
  • 8. Chadwick himself stated in 1839 that his name had been added to the commission by 'cold seal' (Finer, Chadwick, 49), but no evidence of the appointment has been discovered in the Home Office warrant books or the patent rolls. There is no doubt that he acted as a Commissioner and signed the report.
  • 9. HO 43/42 pp. 245-6, 324. The Metropolitan Assistant Commissioners, Chadwick and Codd, were awarded 1 guinea a day (ibid. pp. 245-6). Codd, however, did not claim it (HO 43/45 pp. 191-2).
  • 10. HO 43/42 pp. 91, 93, 116; HO 36/22 p. 363.
  • 11. HO 43/42 p. 188.
  • 12. HO 43/43 pp. 70-1.
  • 13. Res. 17 July 1832 (HO 43/42 pp. 187-8).
  • 14. Res. 17 Oct. 1832 (T 1/4102, minute of commission, 22 Nov. 1832).
  • 15. LPGS 23 June 1832 (C 66/4407). Initially required to report within one year, the length of time allowed to the Commissioners was extended for further periods of one year by LPGS 15 July 1833 (C 66/ 4422) and 5 July 1834 (C 66/4437). By LPGS 15 July 1833 the powers of the commission were also extended to include Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man.
  • 16. HO 43/43 pp. 43-4.
  • 17. D. 4 Nov. 1832.
  • 18. LPGS 19 April 1833 (C 66/4419). On the work of the commission, see J. T. Ward, The Factory Movement 1830-1855 (1962), 81-134; Finer, Chadwick, 49-68.
  • 19. HO 36/22 pp. 505-7; HC 450 p. 1 (1833) xx, 5. One Commissioner with medical training (M), and two lay Commissioners were sent to each district: Barry (M), Mackintosh and Stuart investigated Scotland and North Ireland (called the Northern District); Drinkwater, Power and Loudon (M) investigated the North-Eastern District, which included Yorkshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire; Hawkins (M), Cowell and Tufnell investigated Lancashire; Horner, Woolriche and Spencer (M) investigated a Western District, which included Birmingham, the Potteries and the West Midlands.
  • 20. HO 36/22 pp. 506-7.
  • 21. LPGS 18 July 1833 (C 66/4422). On the work of the commission, see G.B.A.M. Finlayson, 'The Municipal Corporation Commission and report', Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, xxxvi (1963), 36-52.
  • 22. The nine areas were known as circuits and the Commissioners were distributed as follows: Midland circuit: Bingham and Jardine; Western (mainly South and central Wales): Austin and Booth; South Western: Roscoe and Rushton; South Eastern: Ellis and Maude; Southern: Drinkwater and Gambier; Northern: Dwarris and Rumball; North Midland: Cockburn and Whitcombe; Eastern: Buckle and Long; North Western (including North Wales): Hogg and Wilkinson. Commissioners who completed their circuits quickly were subsequently assigned to assist in other circuits, or to undertake inquiries in boroughs close to London which had not been placed in the original nine circuits. For a list of boroughs and the Commissioners who visited them, see HC 116 pp. 7-13 (1835) xxiii, 7-13.
  • 23. MS Report (HO 73/63).
  • 24. Cf xc, 182. For the index to the reports see HC 402 (1839) xviii, 1.
  • 25. HO 43/46 pp. 252-3, 257; HC 135 (1835) xl, 521.
  • 26. HO 43/46 pp. 432-3, 441-2, 496-7.
  • 27. HC 434 (1835) xi, 487.
  • 28. HC 686 (1837-8) xxxv, 223. Much of Hogg's tiresome correspondence with the Home Office was also produced in two House of Commons papers, HC 386 (1835) xl, 481 and HC 203 (1837) xliv, 15.
  • 29. HO 43/43 p. 428.
  • 30. HO 43/46 pp. 501-2, 518-19; HO 36/23 pp. 373-4. The Commissioners received the following sums: Palgrave £1,000; Long £700; Dwarris £700; Rumball £700; Wilkinson £900; Bingham £500; Jardine £1,000; Whitcombe £200; Drinkwater £1,200; Gambier £600; Ellis £1,000; Booth £350; Roscoe £700; Austin £500; Rushton £1,000; Cockburn £700; Buckle £800; Maude £700. When his reports were finally delivered Hogg received £750 (HO 36/23 pp. 650-1).
  • 31. HO 36/22 p. 556; HO 36/23 pp. 373-4, 466-8; T 13/1 p. 73.
  • 32. HO 36/23 pp. 373-4.
  • 33. D. late in 1834 (Gent. Mag. (1835) n.s. iii, 110).
  • 34. Left the country following appointment as Recorder of Prince of Wales Island, Aug. 1834 (London Gazette no. 19181).
  • 35. LPGS 7 Dec. 1833 (C 66/4427).
  • 36. The evidence collected and the draft report are to be found at [78] HC (1837) xxiv (pt. 1), 105-200.
  • 37. LPGS 14 Dec. 1835 (C 66/4466).
  • 38. HC 528 p. 16 (1836) xxxvii, 506.
  • 39. LPGS 5 Nov. 1834 (C 66/4444).
  • 40. HO 36/23 pp. 516-17.
  • 41. LPGS 4 Feb. 1835 (C 66/4449). An incomplete copy of the commission's minutes to 27 Jan. 1836, and a collection of books containing transcripts of the minutes of evidence collected by the commission are held by the Church Commissioners, 1 Millbank, London SW1P3JZ. On the work of the commission, see G. F. A. Best, Temporal pillars (Cambridge 1964), 296-347.
  • 42. MS minutes, p. 81; LPGS 6 June 1835 (C 66/4458). For some correspondence on the changes, see HO 73/11.
  • 43. HO 74/1 pp. 114-15.
  • 44. HO 43/46 pp. 194-5.
  • 45. Resignation received by 30 May 1835 (MS minutes, p. 81).
  • 46. Reappointed 10 June 1835 (MS minutes, p. 89).
  • 47. LPGS 4 March 1835 (C 66/4451). On the work of the commission, see J. R. Dinwiddy, 'The early nineteenth-century campaign against flogging in the army', English Historical Review, xcvii (1982), 308-31.
  • 48. HO 36/24 p. 39.
  • 49. LPGS 13 April 1835 (C 66/4454).
  • 50. HO 43/46 pp. 353-6; HO 43/50 pp. 93-4.
  • 51. LPGS 11 March 1836 (C 66/4473). The commission's papers are preserved in the PRO. They include the minute book (T 90/183), a letterbook (T 90/184) and various unpublished returns from the departments of the Royal Household, minutes of evidence and draft reports (T 90/185-7).
  • 52. Treasury Officials, 131.
  • 53. LPGS 13 Sept. 1836 (C 66/4487). The commission was renewed on the demise of the crown by LPGS 26 Oct. 1837 (C 66/4511), under the terms of which the Commissioners were to report before 1 July 1838.
  • 54. HO 74/1 pp. 115-16, 120-1; T 13/1 p. 147. Burn received a further sum of £750 for the period June 1838- Aug. 1841 for looking after the registers sent to the commission (T 13/1 p. 347; HO 36/26 pp. 286-9).
  • 55. LPGS 20 Oct. 1836 (C 66/4490). The commission was renewed on the demise of the crown by LPGS 26 Oct. 1837 (C 66/4511), when the Commissioners were required to report by 31 March 1839. The rather thin report is supplemented by two valuable collections of papers. The Chadwick papers sections 5-14, held at University College, London, include the commission's letterbook and accounts and large quantities of evidence taken 1836-40, as well as Chadwick's own notes and drafts. In the PRO (HO 73/2-9) there is a large collection of correspondence and replies to printed questionnaires on both crime and policing. On the work of the commission, see Finer, Chadwick, 164-80.
  • 56. Chadwick papers 6, pp. 103-5, from which all quotations are taken.
  • 57. For fragments of the draft report, see Chadwick papers 5.
  • 58. HO 74/2 pp. 60-1; Finer, Chadwick, 167, 486; Chadwick papers 6, pp. 109-10.
  • 59. Chadwick papers 6, pp. 72-4. One of the Charities Commissioners, W. A. Miles, was paid subsistence and travelling expenses in 1837 for inquiring on behalf of the commission into the operation of the Cheshire Constabulary Act (ibid. pp. 8, 10, 72-4).
  • 60. LPGS 14 Sept. 1837 (C 66/4509). The Commissioners subsequently obtained permission to consider the word 'unemployed' as a qualification not intended to confine their inquiries because of the general distress among both employed and unemployed weavers ([296] p. 6 HC (1841) x, 279).
  • 61. C 66/4509; HO 74/1 pp. 89-90.
  • 62. HO 74/1 pp. 148-9, 155-8, 165-6; HO 36/25 pp. 4-5; T 13/1 p. 178.
  • 63. HO 74/1 pp. 89-90, 113-14, 116-18.
  • 64. ibid. pp. 115, 117-18.
  • 65. Letters of appointment of the Assistant Commissioners have not been traced. Appointments are therefore dated by reference to the letters sent from the Home Office to the commission approving the appointments.
  • 66. LPGS 3 May 1838 (C 66/4530).
  • 67. HO 74/1 pp. 213-14.
  • 68. D. 20 Sept. 1839.
  • 69. D. 21 June 1839 (Gent. Mag. (1839) n.s. xii, 547).
  • 70. LPGS 10 May 1839 (C 66/4566).
  • 71. LPGS 13 June 1839 (C 66/4569), 31 Jan. 1840 (C 66/4587).
  • 72. HO 74/1 p. 217.
  • 73. Not named in commission of 13 June 1839 (C 66/4569). Shaw Lefevre was elected Speaker of the House of Commons on 27 May 1839. The cause of Lewis's removal has not been discovered.
  • 74. LPGS 18 Nov. 1839 (C 66/4581).
  • 75. Cf xcvi, 23.