There ‘is not one in fifty [footmen] but what over-rates himself; his wages must be extravagant and you can never have done giving him’, fumed Bernard de Mandeville in his Essay on Charity, and Charity Schools of 1723: ‘it is too much money, excessive wages, and unreasonable vails that spoil servants in England’. Daniel Defoe, despite his usual advocacy of a high-wage economy, wrote in 1724: ‘I never knew a servant, or a workman in England one farthing the better for the increase of his wages, it is so natural for him to think he deserves it, or else you would not do it; that instead of mending him, it always makes him worse’. As Earle has observed, Defoe ‘tended to treat domestic servants as a special case. A rise in wages for anyone was more than likely to lead to vice and insubordination, but this could be accepted as a necessary evil since the resulting consumption helped to sustain the level of employment and prosperity in the economy as a whole’. However, this sub-group of the labouring poor possessed a unique characteristic: ‘vice and insubordination in a domestic servant were less easy to condone since they actually occurred in one’s own house’. 1