|Servant registry office|
On many occasions, we’ve talked about servants’ work and the cost of keeping them (here, here, here, here—and more if you click on the "servants" label at right).
What many of us are not aware of are the various laws enacted to protect servant as well as master.
Very likely, at least a few items on these pages will surprise some of our readers. They certainly surprised me. Masters did not have quite the power one would expect. Notice how many decisions about employees needed to be brought before magistrates. This might have been a mere formality, magistrates usually being people of some standing in a community and likely to take the employer’s side. All the same, it’s interesting to discover that servants as well as master had some protection. And please do note the paragraph dealing with pregnant servants.
|Laws re servants|
—The Servant's Guide and Family Manual (1831)
Image: Thomas Rowlandson, Register office for the hiring of servants (ca 1800-1805) courtesy Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection.