Read the given passage and answer the questions that follow.
‘What's your name, boy?' said the gentleman in the high chair.
Oliver was frightened at the sight of so many gentlemen, which made him tremble and speak in a very low and hesitating voice.
‘Listen to me. You know you're an orphan, I suppose? And that you were brought up by the parish, don't you?’
‘Yes, sir,’ replied Oliver, weeping bitterly.
‘I hope you say your prayers every night,’ said another gentleman in a gruff voice, ‘and pray for the people who feed you, and take care of you’.
'Yes, sir,’ stammered the boy.
‘Well! You have come here to be educated, and taught a useful trade,’ said the red-faced gentleman in the high chair.
Poor Oliver! He little thought, as he lay sleeping, happily unconscious of things around him, that the board had that very day arrived at a decision which would exercise the most material influence over all his future fortunes.
But they had. They believed the workhouse was a regular place of public entertainment for the poorer classes; a tavern where there was nothing to pay; a public breakfast, dinner, tea, and supper all the year round; a brick and mortar place, where it was all play and no work. ‘Oho!’ said the board, looking very knowing; 'we are the fellows to set this to rights; we'll stop it all, in no time.’
So, they established the rule, that all poor people should be starved by a gradual process in the house. The water-works were asked to lay on an unlimited supply of water; a corn-factory asked to supply small quantities of oatmeal; and it was decided to issue three meals of thin gruel a day, with an onion twice a week, and half a roll of bread on Sundays.
What was the decision taken by the gentlemen?
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