A History of Nova Scotia Page

Book #2: Settlement, Revolution & War. TOC
Part 4, "Nova Scotia at the Turn of the 19th Century." TOC
Ch. 5 - Nova Scotian Society: Education, Medicine & The Poor:

We see the beginning of publicly supported schools in 1780 when there was passed in the provincial legislature an act entitled, Establishment of a Public School, Halifax. It was passed to assist in the procurement of qualified persons to teach by providing "a handsome and liberal provision for his [their] easy support and maintenance." Money was to be supplied by government for the erection of a school house and the payment of a salary to a school master1 for a certain sum if the number of children did not exceed 40, a greater sum if the number of scholars should be greater than that. The school was incorporated with full powers and a board of trustees of "five reputable persons." The Board was to report to the legislature "for their conduct, and management of the property so to be vested in them." The board was bound by this statute to "hold a public visitation and examination of said school twice every year, to wit, on the first Monday of May, and the first Monday of October annually." Akins writes how a public examination of the students, at Halifax, was "a ceremony in which the inhabitants at this period took much interest."2 Such an examination was carried out on Friday, June 24th, 1794, at the Halifax Grammar School. Seated there, observing this examination, were the most important people in the colony: "The governor, general Ogilvie, the bishop, chief justice, trustees of the school, and many other gentlemen, attended. Greek, Latin, rhetoric, geography, &c., are named, and delivery of orations, &c."3

The 1780 act was but a bare beginning; it provided only for the indigent at Halifax. If the family had the means, then, it was expected that it should undertake to educate their own children. The first few decades of the 19th century were to pass before there was inaugurated a "Free School" system in Nova Scotia. Like all things it came about in a gradual fashion. Its story cannot be told here, though maybe it should have a separate part in the history of Nova Scotia that stretches beyond the middle of the 19th century. In the early days the education of the young was pretty much a private affair. If the child had parents who could afford to pay to send him or her to a school, then that child would learn to read and write and do arithmetic. Simeon Perkins was such a parent, he sent one of his children up to Halifax from Liverpool. He wrote in his diary on November 3rd, 1804, that his daughter Mary was to be schooled by lodging her with Mrs. Holms in Halifax. By another entry dated March 19th, 1805, we see where he sent his vessel, the Betsey with boards from his mill at Liverpool "to pay my daughter Mary's schooling & board at Mrs. Holms." Mary was one of his younger children; he had nine.4 Though he might have sent, of his children, more than just Mary to Halifax5, we know that on another occasion Perkins brought a teacher into his home. On December 28th, 1790, Perkins wrote: "The widow Godfrey [Josiah] ... comes this day to live in my house to school my children. She has brought some of her household furniture."

In 1808, there was a further act passed in order to Encourage the Establishment of Schools throughout the province. The burden was thrown on the particular community that wished to establish a public school. The province would supply certain funds only after the establishment of such a regional school, viz. after the schoolhouse had been built and a schoolmaster appointed, and, fifty pounds collected from the community, in which case the province would give a sum of twenty pounds. A further condition before the province handed over any money was that the "scholars were to be taught free from all expense whatever, other than their own books and stationary and their individual proportion of food." It does not appear that many communities built schools under this legislative scheme.6 A further act of the legislature was passed in 1811, which gave additional incentives for the communities in the provinces to set up public schools, which, no matter the provincial subsidies, was an expense on the community which many could not bear, certainly not the poor ones. "Free Schooling," with the emphasis on "free," no matter the financial circumstances of the family, did not yet exist in Nova Scotia. A further act was passed in 1820, but still "the poor were excluded from the benefits of the Provincial grants."7 Fergusson observed that these early efforts, however, were successful to a degree, "between 1811 and 1822 twelve grammar schools were established in the Province."8 Every few years a new act was introduced in an attempt to improve conditions for the development of a "free school" system, but it was only in 1864 before any real legislative progress was achieved, a subject which we leave for a future part of this history.

In 1813, Walter Bromley, who had previously been a captain and paymaster of the 23rd Regiment, "commenced the establishment of a school, on what was termed the Lancaster system."9 The Lancastrian system was one where the elder scholars were employed to teach what they had already learnt to the younger pupils.10 Walter Bromley's school, "Royal Acadian School," was on the east side of Argyle Street between Duke and Buckingham Streets. However, in 1827, Moorsom was to observe, "the dawn of cultivated education has hardly yet risen upon the province."11

During September of 1813, an advertisement appeared in one of the local papers. A man by the name of Don Jose De Villalave was going to hold "an exhibition of acrobatics and dancing." Well, -- that apparently upset the higher-ups in government who caused a letter to be sent to the Custos Rotulorum questioning "the propriety of allowing such an exhibition in Halifax."12 The Custos Rotulorum13 was a local judge, who quickly decided that the court does "not conceive that the Public Peace or Morals will be endangered by an allowance of the Exhibition proposed." On November 8th, 1813, Sherbrooke gave permission to open a school of dancing in Halifax, to be operated by the "Misses Powell ... for the Instruction of youth of both sexes." Such permission was depended on the "necessary regulations for the good conduct of their prospective pupils."14

In respect to higher education in the first couple of decades of the 19th century, there need be only reference to King's College. Its inception occurred in 1787 when a committee of the legislative assembly suggested there that there should be a place of higher learning.

"They recommended that £200 sterling be given to a headmaster, who should be a clergyman of the established church15; £100 a year to a professor of mathematics and natural philosophy, and point out Windsor as the best situation for a seminary. They express apprehensions of evil to our youth if sent to the United States for instruction, where they would lose their attachment to their native land, and imbibe principles unfriendly to the British constitution."16

In 1789, the House of Assembly, in the establishment of King's College, granted £500 for land at Windsor and another like sum annually for its operation.17 In 1790, the English Parliament itself granted £1,000 to King's College. At Windsor, in 1791, Bishop Inglis laid the corner stone for a new building for King's College, which, by then, was operating out of a rented house. It was, however, only in 1802 that it was extended the prestige and authority of a royal charter when George III granted it to be a "Mother of an University for the education and instruction of youth and students, to continue forever and to be called 'King's College'."18 During October of 1802, Governor Wentworth reported that he was in receipt of the "King's charter for incorporating King's College." There then followed the business of appointing governors and setting up a constitution, rules and regulations which were conformable to the University of Oxford.19 In September of 1803, King's College was officially opened at Windsor.20

We need but mention, in this small note concerning the birth of King's College, that on May 12th, 1813, 20 thousand acres of land were granted to King's College at Windsor. By 1827, the enrollment was twenty students.21 By 1827, however, another institution of higher learning made its appearance in Nova Scotia: Dalhousie University. It was in 1817, that Lord Dalhousie proposed the establishment of a "seminary for higher branches of education" which he thought was "much wanted in Halifax, the seat of the legislature -- of justice -- of the military and mercantile." The funds used to set up Dalhousie University were those that arose as a result of the War of 1812 against the Americans; war loot which the British brought back to Halifax after having attacked the community of Castine, in the State of Maine. £3,000 of this fund, the "Castine Fund" was used to build a stone building at one end of the grand parade at Halifax with its corner stone being laid in May of 1820. But, this event brings us much beyond the time period under review in this part.

Nova Scotia, while cold and freezing for a couple of months in the winter, has, generally, a salutary climate. And though there was concern that yellow fever, for example, might get into the general population, it was a febrile disease of hot climates and only caught sometimes by seamen who ventured to the West Indies. When a sufficiently high enough latitude is reached, the yellow fever zone is left behind. Nonetheless, we see in 1799 (June 7th) where Governor Wentworth in his speech recommended quarantine laws to guard against "yellow fever." It seems that it had established itself in Philadelphia and in New York. At Boston a strict quarantine was enforced. It was thought that the same thing should be done in Halifax.22 Simeon Perkins, in his entry of March 10th, 1800, received a report from a ship's captain, in from Halifax, that there was a "epidemic, said to be yellow fever ... many people sickly, with colds, etc." I do not think that Halifax suffered from yellow fever, though there must have been the occasional case where seamen came up from the south with such an affliction. Perkins made note (June 2nd, 1800) that the Goodfortune had come in to Liverpool Harbour "from a voyage to the South Seas and one of the men have died and the corpse was aboard." The local doctor was consulted and directions were given. "He desired me to send 1 gallon tar 2 lbs brimstone, & half gallon vinegar on board to clean the Brig." Aside from winter flu epidemics, and, of course small-pox, a subject we will come to shortly, Nova Scotia was a healthy place to live. But still, people had accidents and suffered from diseases which make their rounds. We can fully discount from the early ages to well into the 19th century, modern day medications and procedures. What people did to bring comfort to themselves and their families was to employ home remedies. This is easily illustrated by looking to our diarist in Liverpool, Simeon Perkins. Beginning with his entry in 1777, then down through the years:

1777, July 12th:
Perkins managed to poke himself in the eye with a stick. His eye became swollen and it bled. He "applied wormwood
23 and rum, to take down the swelling, which had the desired effect." He called on a "Mr. Michael Lee" who directed Perkins "to an alum curd, and to take a dose of salts, which were both observed, and operated to satisfaction."
1777, November 16th:
"I am curing the itch by an ointment of tarr, brimstone, and mutton tallow. 1 pint of tar, 1 lb. brimstone, 1 lb. mutton tallow, put into a piece of canvass and hung in the corner to drain out, with which we oint our bodies at night, sleep in my tarry cloaths. Next night oint again, and wash and put on clean cloaths."
1779, April 3rd:
"Dr. (Jesse) Rige, of Yarmouth comes to my house, & prescribes for my daughter Nabby, having an eruption on the skin, occasioned by too great quantity of salts in the blood. He has ordered flower of sulphur, & magnesia alba, equal parts, to be given every night, a tea spoon full, if that is ineffectual, then to give her cream of tartar, & othips mineral, -- half a tea spoon full."
1779, August 7th:
"... This evening I begin to cure myself & family of that loathsome distemper, the itch. We oint with brimstone, melted in fresh butter. I roast by the fire one hour, & go to bed with the ointment upon me."
1783, December 22nd:
"My man Frank is very ill with lame knee ... Doc Jones & Doc. Thomas came to see him & ordered him a draught, a liniment to embrocate his knee & a pultice of bread & milk, which eased the pain. He is very ill & his knee much swelled."
1784, March 7th:
"I am unwell with a cough. Doc. Thomas prescribes something for me & orders me to refrain from salt meat & fish, and drink barley water & wine whey for a constant drink."
1790, May 17th:
"I begin this morning to plunge my daughter in cold well water, for a rickety complaint, by the advice Dr. A. Timothy Miller. He gave us an ointment, which is to be applied the evening before dipping ... The dipping is to be three mornings, & then omit three, until she is dipped nine times ..."
1790, May 30th:
"Mrs. Bangs is very sick. ... I understand the doctor bloodied her ..."
1790, December 28th:
Mrs. Perkins has Erisipelas
24 (Erysipelas) and the doctor is called. "He has ordered some balm, & hisop tea for drink, or rather barley water, if barley was to be had. A mixture to be taken once in two hours, 2 spoonfuls at a time, & a fomentation of the effected part, which were all applied agreeable to directions. She also bathed her feet in warm water."
1791, January 3rd:
"Mrs Perkins somewhat better. The swelling in her face subsides a little. We continue to foment it at times. Cammomile [Camomile] flowers, with a little spirit, was first ordered, but when the doctor understood we had Elder flowers, he ordered that. Barley water to drink, balm tea, etc."
1791, March 12th:
"Much unwell ... I take a potion of rhubarb."
1794, September 18th:
"I have some disorder in my ears ... I put roasted onions in them, when I go to bed."
1795, April 16th:
"I let a heavy slab fall on my foot, which bruised it very much, & it is swelled, and turned purple, etc. ... I wash it with vinegar. [Perkins is advised] to get the bark of sumac roots, pound them, & lay them on for a poultice ..." (See also entry of September 10th, 1797.)
1796, March 24th:
"I have for two nights laid on a allum curd, & keep a plaster of mutton suet on ye first night, but last night I put the allum curd next to the sore, and wear a narrow strip of diocolem round my leg above the sore, spread on leather, which I conclude is to backen the umors."
1796, April 3rd:
"She [daughter, Charlotte] is shivery, and complains of Pain & dizziness in her head, & after taking some wormwood steeped in water, she vomits a little phlegm, begins to be feverish and very thirsty. ... We put turpentine to her feet, & give her orange mint tea. ... Mrs Hopkins is sent for, & comes to see her. She advises to putting blisters on her arms. We waited for further advice. ... He [Mr. Kirk] says her fever is very high, and orders some powders, 3 potions, to be given once in three hours, & blisters on the hollow of the soles of her feet." (On the 11th Perkins reports she is "much better".)
1799, November 30th:
"I have a sore on my little finger which threatens to be a boil or some bad sore. I put a pultice of allum curd at night. ... My hand has been pulticed with white bread & milk."
1800, May 19th:
"I got a bottle of Doc. Griffin's Tinctura Asmatica from Mr. Kirk, last evening, and by the paper directions took 30 drops at night & 20 in the morning. It is not expected to be an immediate cure, but must be used sometime."
1800, May 22nd:
"Little Elkanah Freeman is very sick of a fever and worms, his life almost despaired of. Some angle worms are laid on his belly. Mr. Samuel Man has a child also sick of the same disorder. They have laid worms on her belly also."
1802, June 21st:
"My son Simeon is broke out with the measles. ... Drinks balm tea and barley water."
1802, June 27th:
"My daughter Charlotte was taken very ill last evening with a pain in her side and very high fever. We heat puter plates alternatively & apply to her side." On July 2nd, Perkins adds, "We are in hopes she is rather mending She begins to drink whey."
1803, March:
A boil comes on Perkins' hand. He plaisters it with "egg salve." A day after, with Alum Curd. His hand gets worse and his doctor advises, vinegar and wormwood. None of this seems to work, so he applies "Flax seed & Indian meal." In April, Perkins is still suffering from a painful hand. "Doc. Webster makes an ointment for my hand of Madeira Wine, sweet oil, & earth worms (angle worms), which I am to use frequently & dry it by the fire."
1803, September 23rd:
"Fell into a hole in the wharf, which hurt me pretty much in my right thigh. I applied vinegar and camphor, which was very painful.. I then applied the plant Ever Green, which eased the pain and in some measure took away the soreness."
1805, June 19th:
Wrenching his ankle, Perkins bathed his ankle "with camphor & vinegar & applied evergreen."
1805, June 21st:
Perkins' daughter has a severe headache, so, the doctor is called and he "applied eather."
1809, December 9th:
Perkins is advised by a doctor to deal with what is diagnosed as sciatica. The recipe for which is to take "one pint of milk, one pint of water, one once and half of mustard. Boil it until the curds separate from the whey. Take a teacup full at any time especially at night."

The incidence of smallpox in Nova Scotia during the years under review, can be traced by looking, once again to Perkins. There seemed to have been an outbreak in Liverpool in 1781, in 1790 and in 1800.

1781, July 29th:
"Doc. Morehead calls on me to inform that John Dogget has got the smallpox. He is broke out. The Justices & Overseers of the poor meet at Capt. West's to consult for the safety of the Town, and conclude to move him out to a house back in the woods, from Birch Point.
July 31st:
"Dogget is delirious. The Overseers Of The Poor go regularly with the doctor to see that his cloths are properly shifted."
August 3rd:
"I go with the Doctor to see Dogget. Find he has a vast deal of the pock & appears dangerous."
August 6th:
"John Dogget is dead & the Overseers of the poor are taking measures to bury him this afternoon."
September 5th:
"A child of Peter Leonard's is this day moved to the smallpox house. It is a girl about 8 years old ..."
1790, November 1st:
"John Roberts is sick ... fears it is smallpox."
November 2nd:
A committee of townsmen, which includes Perkins "met at Mr. Roberts to consult about moving him to some convenient place to prevent the infection spreading."

The outbreak of small-pox in 1800 was severe at Halifax. It got in amongst the population and took hold, as Akins wrote, "early in the autumn, and 182 persons had died of it between September, 1800, and the month of February following."27 Perkins wrote of this on March 10th, 1800, when a ship's captain in from Halifax reported that "there is a epidemic, said to be yellow fever, at Sydney, and many people sickly at Halifax, with colds, etc." On December 31st, he wrote, "the small pox still mortal in Halifax." This problem continued throughout the winter, such that on January 29th, 1801, Perkins, as one of Liverpool's chief magistrates, attended a meeting at the Court House "about the Small Pox ... General Inoculation ... some against it." Several houses were designated as "Pest Houses" where those suspected of small pox are to be placed; a white flag was to be hung at all infected places. On February 10th, 1801, we see where the members of the Perkins family were inoculated: "all in the left hand, between the thumb & forefinger, tho not in that looses skin, but on the hand, by making a small incision, and laying an infected thread into it about 3/8 of an inch in length. He [the doctor] then put a small square rag, doubled, and over that a bandage, to keep it in place. ..." March 16th, 1801: ... A considerable number of people attended [Elkanah Freeman's funeral, who died of small pox]. His wife is in a melancholia situation, being far advanced in her pregnancy, and a family of small children, seven daughters and one son. The son is now under the small pox, and has a bad kind of pock. Small pox continued to be a deadly problem through the year28, leading to this entry: "July 23rd, 1802: ... Such a time as never was known in this place since I [Perkins] have resided here for forty years. The most of that time the place has been remarkably healthy, except the Small pox, which carried off about 20 persons, but since last fall I conclude there has double that number died."

Such scourges of mankind, e.g., small pox and dysentery were to continue to bring death and misery to great numbers of people well along into the 19th century; but by 1800 there was to be a marked change in mortality rates. Such diseases became less virulent. This was due to either improved medical practices; or, more likely, due to the increased availability of safe food, safe housing and better sanitation. There was a steady improvement in infant mortality. From the study of the numbers drawn from the records of London, it has been shown that in the mid 18th century, one out of every 15 infants died shortly after birth, while, by 1800, it was one out of every 118.29

Allan Marble estimates that by 1784, the number of doctors in Nova Scotia had reached thirty-five.

"The situation in 1784, therefore, was that there were 35 physicians and surgeons in Nova Scotia, only one of them with a medical degree from a college. There was no legal registration required to practice medicine and surgery in this Province. There was no general hospital for civilians, and diagnosis and treatment was carried out without the use of a thermometer, a stethoscope, antiseptics, or anesthetics."30
At Liverpool, Perkins makes reference now and then to a resident doctor; at any one time, only the one, and a lot of times the community did not have one. In 1800, Perkins made reference to "the local doctor." (June 2nd.) In 1790 there was a Dr. A. Timothy Miller, mentioned by Perkins, on May 14th as having "quitted this place, disgusted with some people who refuse to pay him for inoculation." That October there was mention of a "Dr. Kendrick."31 And in March of 1803, there is mention of a "Doc. Webster."32 At Halifax, in 1801, Murdoch does an accounting of the military doctors, as follows: "James Boggs, garrison surgeon; W. J. Almon, surgeon to the ordnance and artillery; John Fraser and John W. Clarke, surgeon and assistant surgeon for the Royal Nova Scotia Regiment; and John Halliburton.33 Dr. Halliburton came up from New York with a number of other loyalists and was to be attached to His Majesty's Naval Hospital. A member of Council, at least in 1806, Dr. Halliburton "is sometimes prevented attending by urgent cases in his professional duty."34

We have listed earlier the amazing variety of home cures that Perkins tried, more amazing to think that these quack remedies were approved for use by the attending medical doctor, indeed, often suggested by him. By 1800, however, "these old quacks were disappearing"35 while scientific men came to take their place. The dawning of the 19th century brought men who understood the importance of scientific methodology. Superstition and ignorance was giving way as the scientific method took hold in all areas of human endeavour, including medicine. Edward Jenner (1749-1823; see note on small pox) was an example of this new breed of men. There were others: Astley Cooper (1768-1841) who with his work and studies "raised surgery from its primitive state to a science" (Chambers.); John Abernethy (1764-1831) who published in 1809 a four volume work Constitutional Origin and treatment of Local Diseases, the first treatise in English on morbid anatomy (1793); Benjamin Collins Brodie (1783-1826) who saw that there better ways to treat effected limbs rather than to resort immediately to amputation (Chambers); and Charles Bell who became famous for his neurological discoveries (Bell's Palsy). All of these men contributed to medicine during a time -- the very first part of the 19th century -- a time described as "exceptionally brilliant" for English medicine and surgery.36 It was years before these advancements were to take hold, and years again before they took hold in Nova Scotia. Sufficient to say that medicine for the first 25 years of the 19th century was still of the medieval sort. Some of the treatments extended to patients, such as bleeding, did more harm then ever it did any good.

We see that at Halifax in 1773 where theatrical productions were put on by the "Gentlemen of the army and the navy." Such productions were often for the benefit of the poor, two of which were performed at Willis' Hotel [Great Pontac].37 Its not likely that the theatre goers had any intimate knowledge of the poor in town; their social duty was to raise money on occasion and pass it to the Overseers of the Poor38 who went about spending it on the deserving poor. It seems that in the smaller communities, such as Liverpool, help for the poor happened on a more general basis. We see in 1774, where, at Liverpool, there was a "Town meeting for the poor. Freeman, Esq., moderator. We agreed to raise £15."39 At Liverpool there was also a committee such as there was at Halifax.40 Though the townspeople had their meeting and appointed men as "Overseers of the Poor," still there were incidences of private charity -- best really, as then a proper assessment might be made as to who was in need, and was deserving of help. In 1791 (February 16th), we see Perkins extending his hand (his diary shows he often did so) to others: "A number of people cutting and sledding wood for Mrs. Sarah Snow [Prince], as they have done before for Mrs. McLeod and Mrs. Draper, poor widows, which is laudable." Another example can be had by looking to his entry of January 18th, 1803, "I sent some wood in my cart to the sick widow McDonald, and sent her word I would give her some oil for the lamp."

In England, in 1795, a system to assist the poor was established, one, from what I can see, never caught on here in Nova Scotia. This was the Speenhamland system which was begun in 1795. It was instituted by the Magistrates of the village of Speenhamland, near Newbury, Berkshire. To the credit of the Magistrates, I should think, they came to the view that there should be a guarantee of a weekly income for the industrious poor. The magistrates set a scale, by which a larger or lesser allowance was given to a family according to its size and the prevailing price of corn. Sounds pretty good so far, but in operation it was a bit harsh: only the "industrious" poor were given consideration and unless the applicant had substantial connections to the village or the county, as the case may be, no consideration would be given at all. Nevertheless, the Speenhamland system established itself throughout most of rural England and it remained in force until the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834.41

Though there was a system in place in England, the poor in Nova Scotia were probably better off than the poor of Great Britain. We need but take our cue from William Cobbett, "The Poor Man's Friend":

"... there were at least six pieces of legislation ... that were condemned by Cobbett as inimical to the interests of the poor: the acts by which more than three million acres of common and waste lands were enclosed in the period 1741-1801, lands on which the poor had traditionally pastured their cattle and gathered their fuel; the Combination Acts of 1799 and 1800 making it a criminal offense for workers to act collectively; the act of 1797, extended at various times, suspending payment in specie by the Bank of England, which stimulated inflation through the issue of unlimited amounts of paper money; corn laws, which kept up the price of bread, the chief item in the workman's diet, by forbidding the import of foreign grain at low prices and by providing a bounty for British grain that was exported; the game laws, which prevented a starving man from taking a hare, even on his own land, unless he had a freehold estate ...; the law of settlement, by which a laborer could be sent back to his home parish if he ever became a charge, for no matter how short a period, in another parish in which he was working."42
While not employing the Speenhamland system, Nova Scotia did, nonetheless, adopt certain of its aspects. As early as 1763 the legislature obliged freeholders43, "in townships of fifty families," to meet annually and appoint twelve among them who would be, "The Overseers of the Poor." At this meeting there would be determined the rate to be levied for the poor tax. The Overseers were empowered to collect from the freeholders and then to administer the funds. They would carefully scrutinize an applicant and dole out only what was needed. The townships were bound over, in 1768, "to relive natives of it" -- as opposed to drifters that show up in the township looking for handouts. It was the job of the overseers to determine if the poor individual or family was native to the community; and if they were, likely they would get help; if not, then the poor person was escorted to the border and told to go and not to come back. We see in the 1770 legislation that a person seeking relief had to have a legal settlement in the Town, otherwise he was obliged to return to the place where he did have such a legal settlement. Any legal settlement meant the person had to be residing in the community for over a year. The fathers, the taxpayers, were always on the lookout for newly arrived and unemployed people; and, usually, put the hustle on them so to get them out of town. Also we see, that before any municipal aid was to given, the person must turn to their own family: "fathers, grand-fathers, mothers, grand-mothers, children, or grand-children." By 1799, there was legislation governing poor houses throughout the province. In 1801, further legislation: An Act for the Better Management and Relief of the Poor of Halifax. Commissioners were appointed specifically by the act and were reportable to the legislature. The Commissioners named in the act, were: Richard John Uniacke, William Forsyth, Lawrence Hartshorne, John George Pike, William Taylor, Charles Morris, Charles Hill, William Sabatier, James Clarke, William Lyon, John Lawson, and James Fraser.
"[The Commissioner] shall have the immediate superintendence of the POOR-HOUSE, and shall take care to have the food, allotted for the paupers, regularly served; and the beds, bedding and clothing, kept in clean order; and shall direct what food shall be served to them, and also at what hours; and shall and may direct or order every pauper, capable of any work or labour, to be employed in such manner, and at such hours of the day, as he may think best, and may excuse from work such as he may find unfit, or too infirm therefor; and may order and direct such who, being able, shall refuse to work, or shall misbehave, to be punished by solidary confinement, or by stoppage of their allowance of food, until they become obedient, or by such other ways and means as the said Commissioners may direct and order for the general government of the house and paupers."
"That no rum, or other distilled spirituous liquors, shall be allowed to the paupers, or be bought, sold or drank, within the house and premises appropriated to the use of the poor; that the paupers shall be fed on soups, barley broth, stewed meat, wheaten, rye, oaten and Indian, bread, or cakes or puddings, and also on fish and vegetables, in such way and manner as the acting Commissioner may, from time to time, direct: and an account be kept of the cost of such meal, that the earnings of the paupers may be taxed accordingly."
"That the clothing for the paupers, in winter, shall be a warm, but coarse, jacket and trousers for each male, and a jacket and petticoat for each female, and also a strong cotton shirt or shift, with yarn stockings and leather buskins."
"That the men and boys shall be employed daily in picking oakum or rasping wood, or in such trades as can be taught and followed in the house, and the women and girls in sewing, mending, or making clothes, spinning or carding, knitting or weaving, or in such menial services about the house as the Acting Commissioner may from, time to time, direct." "That the Commissioners, or the major part of them, shall have power to apprentice or bind out the poor boys or girls under their charge, by indenture, until they arrive at age, to any person or persons of good repute within the province, on such terms and conditions as they might judge best."

[NEXT: Pt. 4, Ch. 6 - "Early Government."]

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