Castle Combe February 2d.
On searching for Becher's Pamphlet <1> I discovered it had not been returned by Mr. Atherton to whom I had lent it. I saw him yesterday, and he engaged to send it you in the course of today. Should any accident prevent this you will find it in London on Enquiry - the title is 'Becher's Anti-pauper System'. If you look
at in the Report of the Lord's Committee of 1831 on the Poor Laws you will find further details on the system in Mr Becher's Evidence and still better in Revd. Whateley's who at his parish of Cookham Becks, has introduced the Work-house system with great success. It would be well worth your while to adopt it at Lacock. I object to it only when carried to an extreme of severity. For exmaple I would not force old people into the workhouse. Nor do I approve of Becher's plan of giving food to the parents of large families for their maintenance. It is quite as bad as giving money, and tends, like that, directly to keep wages lower than they otherwise would be - in short to cheat both labourers & ratepayers for the benefit of the employers of labour, & landlords especially.
I am fully aware of what you mention as to the durability of the precious metals preventing a defaleation in their rate of supply from influencing their value to the same extent as if they were consumed annually. Had they been in the latter predicament during the last 20 years their value wd. probably have been decupled instead of doubled only, so great has been the increase of demand
as well as the coincident with a considerable failure of supply. But I do not enter into all their niceties in my argument, because I rest it on the broad & indisputable fact that gold is now worth twice as much of other things as it was in 1810 or 1818 - that it has doubled in exchangeable value - and that our money being reckoned in gold, the doubling in value of gold has doubled the value of our currency - and of coure the burden of all money-debts, public & private, to the tune of 3,000 millions at least.
It is quite indifferent to my arguments what may have so raised the value of gold. Even if it could be shown that the mines had been more productive than before, this would not affect the fact attested by the price-currents, of a doubling in value of gold. The knowledge we have of the deficient supply from the mines serves only to explain & account for a fact which otherwise might have puzzled us.
Mrs Pouleet Scrope caught no cold, nor suffered in any way from the very agreeable evening she passed at Lacock <2>& [illegible deletion] begs me to thank you for your enquiries.-
Very sincerely yours
G. Poulett Scrope
1. John Thomas Becher, The Anti-Pauper System, exemplifying the positive and practical good realised by the relievers and the relieved under the frugal, beneficent, and careful administration of the poor laws prevailing at Southwell and in the neighbouring district,&c (1828).