Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

John Bohstedt


Sir Thomas Bernard founded, directed, or subscribed to more than twenty associated charities. His most famous brainchild, the Society for Bettering the Condition of the Poor, became a national clearance house for charitable plans, public health measures, and employment or educational schemes from all over Britain. Simultaneously Bernard, as a Buckinghamshire magistrate, instituted administrative changes to foster independence and moral restraint among relief recipients. On a few issues, including vaccination and fever hospitals, Bernard appealed directly to parliamentary for financial support; or, as with the excise on salt, he spearheaded a campaign for a parliamentary repeal. This study examines Bernard’s life and work as part of a general response to the social and economic cruises born of British industrialization coupled with war against revolutionary France.

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