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Rushden Echo, 1st October 1909, transcribed by Peter Brown
Samuel Pallet and John Pallett
Maintenance of a Father
Rushden Resident Summoned
Magistrate’s Sympathy with the Defendants
A Very Hard Case

A further development has to be recorded in a case which we reported some two years ago. At the Leicester County Bench on Saturday, Samuel Pallet, boot manufacturer, Rushden, and John Pallett, boot laster, Rushden were summoned to show cause why they should not contribute towards the maintenance of their father, Benjamin Charles Pallett, chargeable to the Blaby Union.

Mr Shires appeared for the Blaby Guardian and Mr F J Simpson, of Higham Ferrers, for defendants.

The Medical Officer ay Blaby Workhouse said Pallett was unable to work owing to a tumour of the larynx.

The Relieving Officer gave evidence as to the chargeability of defendants’ father.

In answer to Mr Simpson, he said he did not know anything of Pallett’s history.

For the defence, Mr Simpson said the case was one of the

Most Remarkable

that he had ever been associated with. Pallett was married in 1867 at Gilmorton, and soon afterwards took to drink and turned out an idle and worthless man. The couple led a very unhappy life, which culminated, in 1884, in the husband committing a violent assault upon the wife, for which he was sentenced, at Lutterworth, to three months’ hard labour, a separation order being granted, the wife to be paid 10s. a week, and to have the custody of the children. There were three children, one aged twelve (Samuel), eight, and five (John). The man never paid anything on the order except on one occasion, when, in consequence of a warrant, he paid 50s. He did not come near the unfortunate woman, and made not the slightest attempt to keep or maintain his family. The woman brought up the children, and when they arrived at an age when they could earn a living, they maintained their mother, and it was

To Their Credit

that they had never missed taking money to her every week. Defendants never heard anything of their father until he got into Blaby Union, and they were now asked to contribute to his maintenance. Concluding, Mr Simpson said:

Two years ago your Worships dismissed the summons on the point I then took, viz that it had not been shown that this man was incapable of earning his living. Today I ask your Worships to exercise your discretion and to decline to make an order. This man Ben Pallett has never in one single respect carried out his parental duties to the two defendants; on the other hand the defendants have property and creditably carried out their filial duty towards their mother. For 17 years of her married life the mother was

Bullied and Tortured

By this man, and now in the evening of her days she and her two sons find themselves haunted and harassed by the officials of the Blaby Union. If a poll were taken of the ratepayers of the Blaby Union upon the question as to whether the ratepayers of the Union should bear the cost of this man’s maintenance or whether the two sons (who have seldom or never seen the man) should bear the cost, I venture to say there would be an overwhelming answer in favour of the Union bearing the cost. The man utterly cast off his family in 1884, and, whatever the legal aspects of the case may be, there can be no moral obligation on the part of these men to contribute to Ben C Pallett’s support, and I ask you to decline to make an order.

Mr Shires did not dispute these facts.

An Idle Dissolute Man

Mrs Pallett, giving evidence, said her husband had been the “curse of her existence.” Her sons had done everything that was necessary for her. I was married – she said – in the year 1867 at Gilmorton to Ben Chas Pallett. Soon after we were married my husband began to drink and turned out to be an idle dissolute man. I led a very unhappy married life which culminated in the year 1884 in my husband violently assaulting me. He was charged before the Lutterworth Justices, convicted and sentenced to three months imprisonment and a separation order was granted to me. The Order was that my husband should pay me 10s per week and that I was to have custody of the children. At the time of the order I had three children, viz:- Samuel (one of the defendants), aged 12 years; Emily Ellen Pallett, aged 8 years; John Wm Pallett (the other defendant), aged 5 years. My husband never paid anything under the order except the sum of £2 10s, which was paid on the 13th April 1885, as a result of a warrant which was issued by the

Higham Ferrers Borough Justices

From the 13th April, 1885, I brought up my children myself, entirely without any assistance from my husband, until they arrived at an age when they could earn their own living. My husband never contributed anything towards our support from 1885, nor has he taken the slightest notice of me or the children since the separation. He was well able to earn a good living as a blacksmith if he had attended to it, and from time to time my family advanced, approximately, to him £100 to assist him in that business. I have heard of him from time to time since 1885, and it has always been the same story, he would not work and that he was always drunk and leading an idle worthless life. My sons (the two defendants) have behaved exceedingly well to me. Ever since they have been able to earn anything they have contributed to my support and they still continue to do so. I am dependent on them now.

The bench said they entirely sympathised with defendants, but felt that in the interests of the ratepayers they ought to contribute 2s each towards their father’s maintenance.

An order was made accordingly, with costs, 16s 6d each.

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