And in order to give the most perfect 
security to the parish where such certificated 
man should come to reside, it was further 
enacted by the same statute, that he should 
gain no settlement there by any means whatever, 
except either by renting a tenement of 
ten pounds a-year, or by serving upon his 
account in an annual parish office for one 
whole year; and consequently neither by notice 
nor by service, nor by apprenticeship, nor 
by paying parish rates. By the 12th of Queen 
Anne, too, stat. 1, c. 18, it was further enacted
that neither the servants nor apprentices 
of such certificated man should gain any settlement 
in the parish where he resided under 
such certificate
How far this invention has restored that free 
circulation of labour, which the preceding statutes 
had almost entirely taken away, we may 
learn from the following very judicious observation 
of Doctor Burn. "It is obvious," 
says he, "that there are divers good reasons 
for requiring certificates with persons coming 
to settle in any place; namely, that persons 
residing under them can gain no settlement
neither by apprenticeship, nor by service, nor 
by giving notice, nor by paying parish rates
that they can settle neither apprentices nor 
servants; that if they become chargeable, it is 
certainly known whither to remove them, and 
the parish shall be paid for the removal, and 
for their maintenance in the mean time; and 
that, if they fall sick, and cannot be removed
the parish which gave the certificate must 
maintain them, none of all which can be without 
a certificate. Which reasons will hold 
proportionably for parishes not granting certificates 
in ordinary cases; for it is far more 
than an equal chance, but that they will have 
the certificated persons again, and in a worse 
condition." The moral of this observation 
seems to be, that certificates ought always to 
be required by the parish where any poor man 
comes to reside, and that they ought very seldom 
to be granted by that which he purposes 
to leave. "There is somewhat of hardship 
in this matter of certificates," says the same 
very intelligent author, in his History of the 
Poor Laws, "by putting it in the power of a 
parish officer to imprison a man as it were for 
life, however inconvenient it may be for him 
to continue at that place where he has had the 
misfortune to acquire what is called a settlement
or whatever advantage he may propose 
to himself by living elsewhere." 
Though a certificate carries along with it no 
testimonial of good behaviour, and certifies 
nothing but that the person belongs to the parish 
to which he really does belong, it is altogether 
discretionary in the parish officers either 
to grant or to refuse it. A mandamus was 
once moved for, says Doctor Burn, to compel 
the church-wardens and overseers to sign
certificate; but the Court of King's Bench 
rejected the motion as a very strange attempt
The very unequal price of labour which we 
frequently find in England, in places at no 
great distance from one another, is probably 
owing to the obstruction which the law of 
settlements gives to a poor man who would 
carry his industry from one parish to another 
without a certificate. A single man, indeed, 
who is healthy and industrious, may sometimes 
reside by sufferance without one, but a 
man with a wife and family who should attempt 
to do so, would, in most parishes, be 
sure of being removed; and, if the single man 
should afterwards marry, he would generally 
be removed likewise. The scarcity of hands 
in one parish, therefore, cannot always be relieved 
by their superabundance in another, as 
it is constantly in Scotland, and, I believe, in 
all other countries where there is no difficulty 
of settlement. In such countries, though 
wages may sometimes rise a little in the neighbourhood 
of a great town, or wherever else 
there is an extraordinary demand for labour, and 
sink gradually as the distance from such places 
increases, till they fall back to the common 
rate of the country; yet we never meet with 
those sudden and unaccountable differences in 
the wages of neighbouring places which we 
sometimes find in England, where it is often 
more difficult for a poor man to pass the artificial 
boundary of a parish, than an arm of the 
sea, or a ridge of high mountains, natural 
boundaries which sometimes separate very distinctly 
different rates of wages in other countries
To remove a man who has committed no misdemeanour
from the parish where he chooses 
to reside, is an evident violation of natural 
liberty and justice. The common people of 
England, however, so jealous of their liberty
but like the common people of most other 
countries, never rightly understanding wherein 
it consists, have now, for more than a century 
together, suffered themselves to be exposed 
to this oppression without a remedy
Though men of reflection, too, have sometimes 
complained of the law of settlements as 
a public grievance; yet it has never been the 
object of any general popular clamour, such 
as that against general warrants, an abusive 
practice undoubtedly, but such a one as was 
not likely to occasion any general oppression
There is scarce a poor man in England, of 
forty years of age, I will venture to say, who 
has not, in some part of his life, felt himself 
most cruelly oppressed by this ill-contrived 
law of settlements
I shall conclude this long chapter with observing
that though anciently it was usual to 
rate wages, first by general laws extending 
over the whole kingdom, and afterwards by 
particular orders of the justices of peace in 
every particular county, both these practices 
have now gone entirely into disuse "By the 
experience of above four hundred years," says 
Doctor Burn, "it seems time to lay aside all