The passing of the Workhouse Test Act in1723, gave parishes the option of denying out-relief
and offering claimants only the work house where the able-bodied were required work, usually without pay, in return for food and a roof over their heads.
David Monypenny quoted with approval a tendentious early-nineteenth-century "Dissertation on the Poor Laws" written by the Revd Dr Robert Burns of Paisley: "there is hardly such a thing as maintenance given, except in the cases of inmates of hospitals, or in the case of lunatics or blind, or absolutely impotent from defects corporeal or mental." (15) In most institutions and among those receiving out-relief (which was by far the most common type of aid), a degree of self-support through work was expected and required of recipients by administrators.
Historians should, of course, continue to study national differences in politics, law and institutions, which were part of the different systems of relief, as well as the changing balances between the components--such as the different role of the parish in Scotland and England, the preference for out-relief in Scotland or the relative importance of varying legal frameworks in mediating provision.
(68) Paisley Town's Hospital is an interesting example of the way a rapidly growing community tackled lunacy principally through use of a (small) generalist institution and out-relief. There was clear recognition of the inappropriate nature of poorhouse accommodation for the deranged, for these housed the docile, not the dangerous.