G. R. WYTHEN BAXTER, UPPER BRYN, NEWTOWN 1814 1854 E. R. MORRIS, B.A. The brief notices of G. R. Wythen Baxter which appear in Montgomeryshire Worthies and the Welsh Dictionary of Biography contain little detailed material about his life and family background. Baxter is remembered, if at all because of his book The Book of the Bastilles published in 1840 which was intended by its author as an exposure of the hardships and rigours of the Poor Law Amendment Act, 1834, and its 'workhouses'. Baxter was greatly opposed to the new Poor Law and all his humanitarian feelings were aroused by the operation of the measure. The book-a large volume-contains reports of the speeches of political leaders and others, extracts from newspapers and correspondence between Baxter and prominent individuals and authorities-all relating to the administration of the Poor Law. The extracts relate tragic cases of pauperism in workhouses throughout the country. The content of Baxter's campaign was based on what he considered to be the terrible inhumanity of the Act and the degradation and despair it wrought on the lives of the mass of the poorer classes. His remedy was the abolition of the measure but he did not apparently suggest anything concrete to take its place. Opposition to the Poor Law was not confined to the radicals, Chartists and such humanitarians as the Quakers, the Evangelicals and Charles Dickens- many Tories and some of the nobility-were likewise antagonistic and viewed it as inhumane and as a measure designed to place a good deal of local power in the hands of Whig supporters. Baxter repeatedly stressed his Toryism and so intense was his dislike of the Poor Law that he became the intimate friend of men like Richard Oastler-the Tory Radical-and the radical Anglican clergyman Dr. Bull, as well as J. Fielden, M.P. and the Earl of Stanhope. A long and curious letter appeared in the Salopian Journal of 7th December, 1842, which was described by the editor 'the following angry document is extremely amusing and if the mastery of art of calling names were a qualification then Mr. Baxter's return (i.e. in a Parliamentary election) would be certain'. In the letter Baxter refers to Oastler as 'that great and good patriot' and counts himself proud to be his friend and partisan. The letter was written in answer to some scandalous stories about Baxter and his family spread by certain of the manufacturers of