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The Elizabethan †Poor Law Acts of 1597–1601 dealt harshly with sturdy beggars, rogues, and vagabonds, whose numbers were greatly exaggerated by the government and commentators. Most vagrants were single men, who travelled alone or in twos, rather than in the gangs that worried the writers of pamphlets. After the Restoration their numbers fell and they ceased to be a matter of national concern.

Subjects: History.

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