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Aprons are Defences; against injury to cleanliness, to safety, to modesty, sometimes to roguery. From the thin slip of notched silk, which some highest-bred housewife . . . has gracefully fastened on; to the thick-tanned hide, girt round him with thongs, wherein the Builder builds, and at evening sticks his trowel. . . . How much has been defended, how much concealed in Aprons! Nay, rightly considered, what is your whole Military and Police Establishment, charged at uncalculated millions, but a huge scarlet-coloured, iron-fastened Apron, wherein Society works (uneasily enough); guarding itself from some soil and smithy-sparks, in this Devil's-smithy ( Teufelsschmiede ) of a world?
THE uniformity of dress is a characteristic of the people of the United States. The man of leisure and the laborer, the mistress and the maid, wear clothes of the same material and cut. Political equality renders our countrymen and countrywomen averse to all distinctions of costume which may be supposed to indicate a difference of caste. The uniformity which results is not favorable to the picturesque, and our everyday world in America has, in consequence, the shabby look of being got up by the Jews in Chatham Street and turned out in a universal suit of second-hand clothing.
The Victorian Poor Law and Life in the Workhouse [ Victorian Web Home —> Political History —> Social History —> Economics —> Race and Class —> Workhouses and the Poor law ] General Historical Context, 1600-1860 The Elizabethan Poor Law (1601) The Settlement Acts (1662) Knatchbull 's Act (1723) — the Workhouse Test Act Gilbert 's Act (1782) The Speenhamland System (1795) Changing attitudes towards poverty after 1815 The Sturges-Bourne Acts (1818-9) The Royal Commission into the operation of the Poor Laws (1832) The Poor Law Commission The Royal Commission: members The implementation of the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act Workhouse officers The workhouse Opposition and Protest