Captain Kennedy to the Commissioners - April 13, 1848
DESTITUTION, I am concerned to say, steadily increases, together with a
corresponding increase of disease. The numerous evictions tend to this when (as is
frequently the case) 30 or 40 cabins are levelled in a single day; the inmates crowd into
neighbouring ones till disease is generated, and they are then thrown out without
consideration or mercy. The relieving officers thus find them, and send them to the
hospital when beyond medical aid. These wholesale evictions are most embarrassing to the
Guardians. The wretched and half-witted occupiers are too often deluded by the specious
promises of under-agents and bailiffs, and induced to throw down their own cabin for a
paltry consideration of a few shillings, and an assurance of "out-door relief."
I am compiling a return of the number of evictions in each electoral division since last November, with the extent of holding, and amount of yearly rent.
It may be asked why the occupier submits to what is illegal? The answer is simply, that the great mass are tenants at-will and dare not resist; and on many properties notice to quit is served every six months, to enable the lessor to turn out the occupiers when he pleases. This is a ruinous system, and one much complained of.
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