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SOME years before I was called to the Bar, my attention was especially drawn to the operation of the Poor Laws on the well-being of our labouring population; and, during nearly the whole of my professional practice, I have had ample opportunities of seeing the actual working, and of forming an opinion on the character and tendency, of those laws. It therefore seems to me, that the setting forth of my views, thus formed on the Pauperism and Poor Laws of England, may tend to promote the progress of truth, and so prove useful to the public in a matter of great social importance.
It was my hope and intention to go to press, with some such book as the present, in 1851; and, in March and April of that year, I wrote several of the chapters now printed. But ill health suspended my labours. I was obliged to pass the whole summer, in perfect idleness, in the south of Germany, and only returned to England in time to resume my professional labours in Michaelmas Term. The Christmas Vacation enabled me to complete the work.
For the Index appended to the volume, I am indebted to Mr. George Tayler, of the Common Law Bar.
9th February, 1852.