Some who have pensions as soldiers or sailors were among those who apply by letters for charity; one sailor who had lost a leg is one of the most violent and desperate characters in the metropolis.
Among beggars of the very worst class there are about 30 Greenwich pensioners, who have instruments of music, and go about in parties.
A marine who complained that he had but 7l. a year pension, said he could make a day's work in an hour in any square in London.
A pensioner who had 18l. a year from Chelsea, when taken up for begging had bank-notes concealed in his waistcoat, and on many of that description frequently 8s.
10s. or 12s. are found, that they have got in a day.
Chelsea pensioners beg in all directions at periods between the receipts of their pensions.
A Chelsea pensioner who receives 1s. 6d.
a day is one of the most notorious beggars who infest the town.
A Greenwich pensioner of 7l. a year, gets from 5s. to 10s. for writing begging letters.
Begging Letter Writers in 1816.Some thousand applications by letters are made for charity to ladies, noblemen, and gentlemen in the metropolis; two thousand on an average were within the knowledge of one individual who was employed to make inquiries. Several persons subsist by writing letters; one woman profits by the practice, who receives a guinea a week as a legacy from a relation, and has laid out 200l. in the funds. Letters have been written by the same person in five or six different hands.
Persons who write begging letters are called twopenny-post beggars.
A man who keeps a school writes begging letters for 2d. each.
These extracts, culled here and there from a voluminous report, will suffice to give an idea of the state of mendicancy in the metropolis at the beginning of the century. The public were so shocked and startled by the systematic impostures that were brought to light that an effort was made to protect the charitable by means of an organized system of inquiry into the character, and condition of all persons who were found begging. The result of this effort was the establishment in 1818 of the now well-known
A pensioner who had a year from , when taken up for begging had bank-notes concealed in his waistcoat, and on many of that description frequently or are found, that they have got in a day.