chapter  XXV
Pages 13

THE first great enterprise of the Reformed Parliament was the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834, the principles of which, with some modification, still govern the British system of poor relief. At a single blow, the old system of relief was swept away, and a new one, consistent with the ideas of Malthus and the Benthamites, set in its place. The " Reform of the Poor Law " was the first important measure of nineteenth century Liberalism, pioneered and largely carried through by the new classes which Parliamentary Reform had brought to political power. It did not, indeed, go far enough for some of the Malthusians and philosophic Radicals, who would have preferred to see all relief denied to able-bodied persons, and even more deterrent measures applied to frighten the poor from bringing children into the world. But, in the main, it carried out logically the ideas of those who held that pauperism was a crime, and that the right method of dealing with it was deterrence ruthlessly applied. Its results were measured, not by the decrease in human suffering, but by the lessening of poor rates, which it set out to achieve.