…a tour of the house, and thinking, for the first time, that the poor-laws really were too hard on people; and that men who ran away from their wives, leaving them chargeable to the parish, ought, in justice to be visited with no punishment at all, but rather rewarded as meritorious individuals who had suffered much; Mr. Bumble came to a room where some of the female paupers were usually employed in washing the parish linen: when the sound of voices in conversation, now proceeded.
There are no more uses of "meritorious" in the book.
Show samples from other sources
Despite numerous potentially meritorious grounds for appeal, Joe’s appointed appellate counsel filed an Anders brief—indicating his belief that there were no legitimate grounds for appeal and no credible basis to complain about the conviction or sentence—and was permitted to withdraw from representing Joe.
Bryan Stevenson -- Just Mercy
In point of meritorious character, the two things seemed about equal.