exchanging email with someone about my grandfather's uncle, Peter
Blanche from Shetland, I decided to look the family up in the 1851
census. His father Robert, 59, who was a joiner, was raising his
family in Calback, Delting parish ... which so far's I can see, was
near the present-day Sullum Voe oil terminal. There were 51
households enumerated in their district, Garth, which included one
household on Little Roe.
For the first time with this 1851 census, I went through the header
pages too, and I was fascinated to find, on the summary page, a
section for Remarks of the Minister of the Parish. The minister of
Delting parish was one John McIntyre, 49, who had been born in
Edinburgh -- and he definitely had something to say! Good for him,
taking the opportunity to speak up for the people of his parish. So
I thought I would pass on a copy to you.
Now I'll be on the lookout for more ministers' comments in 1851!
Talk to you later,
Claire kindly sent in a translation of
the hard to read text...
Many of the people of this district are
from 3 to 4 miles distant from the parish church at Scatsta and are
also remote from the Par. School at Moorfields. -- As there is a
want of roads & of bridges and as the mosses are deep the ministry
is often [....] --
The Secretary of State and her Majesty's Government will turn to a
salutary account the present Census of this parish and of Zetland if
they shall bear in mind that Delting is in a pauperised state with
the exception of half a dozen families and of [8?] teachers whose
incomes are severally about 25 ₤ per An. -- that the whole
population are not actually paupers is because those who are
exceptions possess some measure of youth, health & strength.
Since the operation of the present Poor Law the descent of the
people into misery has been rapid while the increase in the expense
of pauper maintainance is such as to threaten to reduce all ere long
to the same hopeless state -- a disgrace even to the empire itself.
The population are prevented from the regular attendance of church &
school in due numbers not only by the general severity of the
weather and the distances and roadless tracts which they have to
travel but by destitution as to necessary clothing --
It is humbly suggested that valuable lessons in pauper legislation
might be derived from an accurate acquaintance with the peculiar
[...tition] and sufferings of the people of these islands, compared
with the writings of the late Dr. Chalmers [Dr.] philosophies whose
wisdom experience and achievements in the department of legislation
have been, we think greatly overlooked and undervalued by the
legislation of the land while preference has been shown to
antiquated error and to the erroneous views of modern empiricism.
This parish is totally destitute of Medical Aid. The assistance
tendered by Government for this purpose has been tried and found
altogether inefficient from its smallness and the poverty of the
people. The resident midwives are wholly without training
instruction or proper experience.
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