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In addition to mocking the bureaucratic pretensions of the Mendicity Society, Lamb criticizes the early-nineteenth-century paranoia surrounding fraudulent poverty by speaking as a former charity student, a position also liable to charges of imposture.
The "Complaint" begins with a proemium in which Elia paraphrases the Society's goal: "The all-sweeping besom of societarian reformation--your only modern Alcides' club to rid the time of its abuses--is uplift with many-handed sway to extirpate the last fluttering tatters of the bugbear Mendicity from the metropolis" (Elia 262).
This "Rector," a straw-man representative of the Mendicity Society, advocates separating beggars from their dogs, placing the men in a "withering workhouse," and killing the animals.
While the beggar's "sailor-like" appearance echoes the Mendicity Society's complaint about beggars "in the garb of seamen," the allusion to the 1780 Gordon Riots suggests that he literally has become paralyzed by socioeconomic unrest.
Elia's self-reflection extends to the conclusion of the "Complaint" in which he exploits Spital Sermon conventions to reinforce his argument against the Mendicity Society.
The evidence can be found in the annual reports of the Mendicity Society.
Their goals, Arrom argues, exemplified the Bourbon modernizing project in their optimism that mendicity could be eradicated, and in their utilitarian, disciplinary, and civilizing intent.
12) An 1891 report from the department of the Seine-Inferieure noted that "there isn't a single commune in the Seine-Inferieure which is not bitterly complaining about the considerable growth in mendicity in the last few years.
But the obsession with degenerate beggars and vagrants was also an indication that vagrancy and mendicity were actually on the rise since mid-century.
Mendicity was punishable under Articles 274-282 of the Penal Code.
Vagabondage and mendicity were, if not male practices, male crimes.
Lord Pelham on the State of Mendicity in the Metropolis (London, 1803).