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The paper in this volume is brittle or the
borrowed, between July, 1837, and July, 1838. (Continued from
THE RIGHT HONORABLE LORD JOHN RUSSELL.
Poor Law Commission Office, MY LORD,
4th August, 1838. The approaching termination of the fourth year of our official employment again imposes upon us the duty of submitting to your Lordship
the Annual Report of our proceedings. The performance of that duty, at all times rendered difficult by the multifarious nature of those proceedings, becomes more embarrassing at the present moment, owing to the peculiarity of our position in reference to the committees of the two branches of the Legislature, who have instituted a searching examination both into the general and special results of the administration of the Poor Laws, under the regulations which we have issued, and who have not yet closed their labours.
Under these circumstances it is almost impossible for us to avoid the repetition or anticipation of facts which have been, or will be, made known to the public by those committees, and the statement of inferences or opinions which possibly may not be in exact accordance with those which they may place before Parliament in their Reports.
Whilst adverting to the proceedings of those committees, we venture to express our regret that the systematic course of amend. ment we have adopted in fulfilment of the objects of the Act under which we derive our authority, should have been unavoidably exposed to a protracted scrutiny whilst it was confessedly incomplete, and that so much of the attention of ourselves and our Assistant Commissioners, which would otherwise have been
on the defects within our view, or which must have been presented to us upon due revision, has been devoted to the
supplying of information necessarily required by the committees for the elucidation of so extensive a subject,--to the refutation of adverse statements, for the most part unfounded, which have been made to them or to Parliament, and to the support of those main principles of the law, at the several Boards of Guardians, to which, although originally adopted with cordiality, they have in some instances become less disposed to adhere, in consequence of the supposed indications of doubt manifested by the Legislature, by the institution of these inquiries.