In spite of the wide variety of occupations to which children might be bound, the basic intentions of apprenticeship at any period were twofold, economic and social, affecting three separate categories of apprentices: pauper, charity and normal. First, apprenticeship provided children with an adult livelihood, enabling them to support themselves and their dependants for 30 years or more, without recourse to parish relief. Secondly, apprenticeship controlled the supply of entrants to any occupation, which limited the numbers of adult journeymen and masters who would ultimately practise a craft, and so avoided overstocking and resultant low wages. As a training method, apprenticeship regulated the skills of an occupation and prevented dilution by unqualified workers, who would bring the craft into disrepute and depress wages. Politically, pauper apprenticeship was intended as a form of social control, a means of removing the dreaded swarms of beggars that Tudor legislators feared would grow uncontrollably. By the eighteenth century both inhabitants and parish officials acknowledged apprenticeship as a reliable method of keeping down the poor rate. At any period, however, apprenticeship relied for success on stable economic conditions.