Thousands of maimed soldiers, war widows and orphans across England and Wales had petitions drafted to claim welfare payments in response to their losses in the Civil Wars. Very often, their stories were written for them by literate acquaintances and shaped to make them appear as deserving as possible. Civil War Petitions contains these war stories. The petitions often give clues as to how war victims looked back on their wartime experiences. Claimants still had to defend these accounts in person as true in open court.
See how the needy addressed those in authority over them. See what language and vocabulary they used and what requests they made. Examine how strategies of humility were mixed with assertions of entitlement to prick the consciences of the authorities.
Claimants to military welfare often required certificates to show that they were genuine cases. Sometimes these were provided by the medical practitioners who had tended their wounds. Sometimes they were drafted by military officers, confirming that the claimant had served under their command. In other instances, they were drawn up by a claimant’s neighbours who were eager to reduce their parish’s poor rate by securing a county pension for the claimant.
Civil War Petitions contains these supporting statements. The certificates often give clues about the character and standing of a claimant, either in the army or in their home community.
See how the stories in petitions were supported by these certificates. See what language and vocabulary they used to support the claimant’s deserving nature. Examine the social status of those who signed in support.