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Rev. Boyd, in your capacity as the local minister in Ochiltree, Ayrshire, you must often come in contact with the needy in early nineteenth century rural society. While the strong can work in the fields or in the mines for a wage, how do the incapable and the very elderly survive? And when I say "survive" I refer to one of the most basic of human needs -- "nutrition".

If I had the honor of seeing your Lordship, I intended to have spoken for a poor woman residing in the village of Ochiltree. I beg to recommend her to your Lordship, as a Pensioner on the meal list. Her name is Jean McCowan. She is a needy and deserving person. She is often in great want but she will take no assistance from the Poor funds. She will not become, she says, a Parish Pauper but she will most thankfully receive meal from your Lordship if placed on the List. I hope your Lordship will excuse me for the liberty I take in bringing the case of this poor woman before your Lordship.

Rev. James Boyd, Ochiltree

I note that you later thanked Lord Bute for his generosity:

My Lord

I beg to thank your Lordship for placing Jean McCowan on the Meal list.(1)

I gather that many of the rural folk had a sense of pride and would rather suffer than be placed on the Poor Roll.

(1) Dumfries House papers, courtesy of the Marquess of Bute

The Scarboro Heights Record V10 #5