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with the age, as not to know that the security of the state depends upon the well-being and contentment of the people. The conduct of Ferdinand, in Spain, is no exception, for Spain is not an enlightened country: and moreover, the acts which excited most indignation in England are popular among the great majority of that noble-minded, but be-darkened nation : the restoration of the Inquisition was their own work; and when Ferdinand formally reestablished it, he only ratified what they had spontaneously done. Bonaparte's conduct is just such an exception as proves the rule. Ambition had intoxicated him, and the possession of absolute power had produced in him that specific moral madness of which so many cases were seen among the Roman and Greek emperors : he sought to reign by force and delusion, and to make the nations of Europe the mere instruments of his selfish and wicked will; but in attempting this he acted in opposition to the spirit of the age, and was overthrown. He condescended to it during his short usurpation, when he abolished the Slave Trade. The general spirit of the age is good both abroad and at home. The Christian Treaty, as it is called, however nugatory it may be deemed, is one memorable instance. The Pope also affords another ;-he has restored the Jesuits, but he has prevented the inquisition from roasting a relapsed Jew. The Portuguese have abolished the Inquisition at Goa, and are taking measures for abolishing it in Por. tugal. This spirit, which exists strongly in every country where public opinion is known, exists with most strength in England, where public opinion is more decidedly expressed. There is an ardent desire of diminishing the evils of the world, as far as our efforts can contribute to their diminution, in other countries and in our own. The abolition of the Slave Trade-the abolition of infanticide in part of our great Indian empire-- the various missions which are so liberally supported in the East, in Africa, and in Polynesia, and the strong feeling which has been excited here by the suspicion of a Catholic persecution in France,-evince the prevalence and the power of this desire, so honourable to the age, so honourable to England, and to human nature.
The Romanists used to reproach us with our inattention to the duty of disseminating the religion which we profess; and they asserted* that missionary zeal could only proceed from the Spirit of
* Muratori's language is curious:--Cerchisi pure fra le sette de' moderni eretici; non vi si troverà questa specie di eroica carita.-Ma questo nobil ardore non si puo aspettar altronde, che da quel divin Spirito, il quale infiamma al bene i cuari de' Fedeli, nè trovarsi altrove che nella veraChiesa di Dio; e percio dee dirsi un contrasegno anch'esso, che questa è la legittima Sposa di Gesu Cristo,conservatrice dello spirito de' primi Cristiani, e tuttavia feconda di Apostoli e di Martiri, come fu la primitiva chiesa. It is remarkable he has not spoken of miracles as well as martyrs. The reports of Protestant
God, and therefore it could be found in the true church alone. This reproach, which was at one time deserved, holds good no longer; and the Protestant missionaries of the present age will be found to equal their Catholic predecessors in zeal and disinterestedness,* and to excel them in erudition. They reproached us also with a decay of charity, in consequence of the Reformation; affirming that no monuments of durable benevolence had been erected like the convents, hospitals, and colleges, and other religious foundations, with which England was enriched by the piety of our Catholic ancestors before the schism. But here they exult without a cause; the establishment of schools, hospitals, alms-houses, and eleemosynary societies of various descriptions in London, will be found to exceed in number and in extent the charitable institutions of any other city in Europe: not to mention that the history of the world affords nothing similar to the provision which the Legislature has made for the poor in England. Of these institutions, the five royal hospitals, as they are called, (St. Bartholomew's, Bedlam, Bridewell, Christ's Hospital, and St. Thomas's,) were originally endowed from the church and convent lands; the rest are all Protestant foundations. To give the briefest account of all, or even to enumerate them, would require more space than can here be allotted to that purpose ; suffice it to say, that more than 30,000 patients are annually admitted into the London hospitals; that about 15,000 children receive the benefit of gratuitous education; that about 13,000 persons are supported in endowed alms-houses; and that the sums which are annually disposed of in charitable uses by the several companies and halls in London, amounted, in Maitland's time, to more than 26,0001.
But among the numerous associations which have in late years been formed for benevolent purposes, there is one whose proceedings are entitled to particular notice--the Society for Bettering the Condition and increasing the Comforts of the Poor. This society originated twenty years ago with the Bishop of Durham, Mr. Wilberforce, Sir Thomas Bernard, and the Honourable Edward James Eliot. The latter was early removed from a world which his talents and his example were alike fitted to adorn and to amend; the three former names need no panegyric. The general object of missions are now more than equal in bulk to the Lettres Edifiantes et Curieuses ; and in the whole of them there is not one miracle. Bishop Milner would say this is a proof that ours is not the true church; on the contrary, it proves satisfactorily that his is a lying one.
* It is not, perhaps, generally known, that each of the three elder missionaries at Serampore (Dr. Carey, Dr. Marshman, and Mr. Ward) contribute to the support of the mission the whole of their incomes, beyond what is sufficient for a bare subsist ence; and that the sums thus contributed are not less than 15001. a year from each. These are the men who were reviled, but a few years ago, in the worst spirit of scurrility, for the lowness of their origin!
the society was to collect information respecting the actual situation of the poor and the most effectual means of improving it. They proposed to apply the principle of experimental philosophy to this object, and to make existing facts the means of practical and systematic investigation into what has really augmented their virtue and happiness, and has been sanctioned by use and experience.? The inquiry has been conducted patiently, and without ostentation. Instead of coming forward with cumbrous theories, or presenting crude plans to the legislature, they have collected facts, tried such limited experiments as were in their power, and laid their observations before the public, as materials from which every man may draw the conclusion. The conclusions which every sane mind must. draw from the premises thus laid before it, are truly consolatory : it appears that more may be done by well disposed and active individuals, than could be effected by legislative interference; that little exertion, and less expense, if wisely directed, may produce much good; that the poor are well disposed to second the efforts: which are made for their advantage, whenever they understand the benefit; and that the lower classes become improved in other respects in proportion to the improvement of their circumstances.
The advocates for radical reform assert, that as the weight of taxation makes every thing dear,government is thus the direct cause of the distresses of the poor. This assertion being continually repeated as a political axiom, and involving in the first part of its proposition a certain degree of truth, produces much of the mischief which it is intended to produce. Fool! who would begin to repair the pyramid from the top instead of the bottom! Taxation affects the poor in an infinitely trifling degree compared to the tax which is laid upon their poverty by individual cupidity. It is but too obvious,' says Dr. Glass, how much the poor are imposed upon by the petty shopkeepers in the necessaries which they are enabled to purchase. The quality of the goods is not the best, the price is extravagantly high, and the quantity is reduced by deceitful weights and a scanty measure.' It appeared upon a strict inspection of weights and scales, in a small and by no means a populous district, that the loss which the poor of that district sustained from this cause, or, in other words, the money thus fraudulently raised from them, amounted to not less than 5001. a year. Sir Thomas Bernard asserts, that the injury which the poor sustain from buy ing their flour at the shop instead of the mill, was nearly equal, at the time when he wrote, (1798,) to two-thirds of all the poor's rates then collected in England. This latter evil has, in some instances, been removed by the establishment of parish mills; the former requires only that the existing laws should be duly enforced; and
when the weights and measures of the country shall be regulated, (as it may be presumed they soon will be,) it is to be hoped that means will be provided for rendering those laws efficacious. These grievances, which fall with peculiar weight upon the poor, arise from that eagerness for gain, which is the sin that most easily besets a commercial people, and which, perhaps, has never been so generally prevalent as at present. In this point, God knows, the country stands truly in need of radical reform ; but it is a reformation which cannot be affected by laws or by political changes ; it must be in public opinion; in the habits of thought and the principles of action. There is a memorable passage upon this subject in one of Mr. Windham's speeches,— The whole country, it is said, is full of abuses from top to bottom. I believe so; with this correction, that the description would be more just if we were to say from bottom to top, it being here, as in other media, the parts of which are left to move freely, that the lower strata are the denser and grosser, and that they become rarer and purer the higher you ascend. The fact is, that when the matter comes to be searched to the bottom, it is the people throughout who are cheating the people ; the people individually cheating the people collectively. The people in all quarters, and by all opportunities, are preying upon the public ; and then make it the reproach of the government that it has not the power to prevent them.'-Well does Sir Thomas Bernard lay it down as an axiom that no plan for the improvement of the condition of the poor will be of any avail, unless the foundation be laid in the amelioration of their moral and religious character. The exactions of which we have been speaking are those to which the poor are subject from persons of their own class, or who are just rising above it; but the spirit which occasions these petty frauds extends far higher : it is found not only in the little shopkeeper, who curtails his measures, falsifies his weights, and exacts a dear price for bad commodities, or in the mistress of a dairy, who mingles water with her milk before she sells it out to those, perhaps, who will dilute it still further; but to the brewer, who procures his materials from the druggist instead of the maltster; to the druggist, who adulterates the material which he sells him; and to the rich manufacturer who makes flimsy goods for foreign sale, thus, for the sake of his own immediate gain, inflicting lasting injury upon his country, by injuring the character of English commodities.
Let it not be supposed that any indiscriminate censure upon the commercial classes is intended ; nor that the censure which is intended applies to those classes exclusively. The landlord who exacts a grinding rent for the labourer's cotiage is less culpable than
the fraudulent tradesman, inasmuch as he offends against no law of the land; but in proportion as he lessens the comforts and increases , the necessities of the poor, he does evil and occasions evil. Some years ago, a traveller who took shelter from a storm in a cottage by one of the Scotch lakes, saw that the rain ran in, and lay in pools upon the uneven floor, which consisted only of the bare earth on which the hovel had been built; during great part of the year, therefore, the floor must necessarily be wet and dirty, making it both uncomfortable and unwholesome: he observed to the owner with how little trouble the inconvenience might be removed; the man shook his head, and answered it was very true, but that if he were to do this, the cottage would be thought worth more for having been made comfortable, and the rent would in consequence be raised. Such cases may be unusual, and we believe indeed that they must be so; but it is certain that high rents are common, and it is not less certain that they aggravate the
poverty of the poor. Another, and perhaps greater, evil, is the difficulty with which the cottagers can obtain some little land; the grievance was long since pointed out by Mr. Kent:
-when the cottagers,' he said, are accommodated with a small quantity of land, they are obliged to pay, at least, a double proportion of rent for it, to what the farmers pay themselves. Upon this point, the facts which have been collected by the Society, led Sir T. Bernard to conclude, that the possession of arable land is hurtful to the cottager ; but that his condition is most materially improved by possessing a garden and grass land for one or two cows. periment has been extensively tried by the Earl of Winchelsea ;there are from seventy to eighty labourers upon his estates in Rutlandshire, who keep from one to four cows each; and of all his tenants these men are the most punctual with their rents. Lord Winchelsea asserts, from experience, that nothing is so beneficial both to them and the landholders as this system; that the labourers and their families, living better, are consequently more able to endure labour ; that they are contented with their situation, and attached to it; that having acquired a sort of independence, which makes them set a higher value upon their character, they are generally considered in the neighbourhood as men the most to be depended upon and trusted; that feeling the advantage of possessing a little, their industry is excited by hope ; and that when a labourer has obtained a cow, and land sufficient to maintain her, his next thought is to save money enough for buying another. The experiment was tried also in Wiltshire, in a parish containing 140 poor persons, divided into 32 families, chiefly employed as labourers in husbandry. Having suffered greatly during the high price of pro