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visions in 1801, it was proposed to them that they should make an effort to better their circumstances, and occupy, at a fair rent, such a quantity of land as each family could cultivate without improperly interfering with their usual labour, and keep well manured; the land was to be forfeited if they received any relief from the parish, except medical assistance, or under the militia laws. The proposal was gladly accepted by all who could possibly accept it; and the consequence was, that the poor-rates, which, in the last six months before the experiment was made, had amounted to 2121. 158. amounted, three years afterwards, in the six corresponding months of winter, to 121. 6s. Some part of this great difference is of course attributable to the scarcity in the first year; but the fact that all these families had before been chargeable to the parish, and that none of them were chargeable after they had been thus enabled to assist themselves, proves incontestibly that no better means can be devised for improving the condition of the agricultural poor. The utmost quantity of land thus leased was an acre and a half, of which a fourth part in winter was planted with potatoes, the rest was in corn or in garden cultivation; and this experiment shows that even arable land is not always hurtful to the cottager. Of all means of improving his condition, this has been found the most beneficial ;-the children are thus educated to husbandry, to the care of cattle, and the management of the dairy; while they are thus healthfully and usefully brought up, they are better fed; the father employs those hours in hopeful and therefore willing occupation, which would otherwise be idly or injuriously spent, and finds such solid satisfaction at the close of day by his own fire side, that the alehouse holds out no temptation for him; and the mother has that enjoyment in her offspring, which, in the right order of things, has been appointed by a benevolent Creator, instead of feeling, as is too often the natural state of the miserably poor, that their
existence is burdensome to their parents, and calamitous for themselves.
The individual Christian, if he truly deserves that name, will ever bear in mind an humiliating sense of the evil propensities of fallen humanity, as a motive for vigilance over his own heart, and for charity towards the offences of others. But it is the business of governments to regard the bright side of human nature; the better they think of mankind the better they will find them, and the better they will make them. It is well known that in the middle and higher walks of life, men in general bear adverse fortune more wisely than they bear prosperity: one reason for this is, that these opposite states call into action the same principle; and pride, which makes man insolent or arrogant in the one situation, is in the other chastened and refined, till it becomes a virtue. The wisest
ånd the best minds have received their painful education in the school of adversity : but if adversity be favourable to the developement of our virtues, (and indeed many of our noblest qualities would never be developed under any other discipline,) there is a degree of misery which is fatal to them, and which hardens the heart as much as coarse manual labour indurates the skin, and destroys all finer sense of touch. Among savages, those tribes have ever been found the most unfeeling who possess the fewest comforts, and have the most difficulty in obtaining food; for when self-preservation becomes the prime concern, the natural charities are starved; a brutish selfishness occupies the whole heart, and man, having no instinct to supply the absence of his human affections, becomes worse than the beasts. Mournful as this is, it is far more mournful to contemplate the effects of extreme poverty in the midst of a. civilized and flourishing society. The wretched native of Terra del Fuego, or of the northern extremity of America, sees nothing around him which aggravates his own wretchedness by comparison; the chief fares no better than the rest of the horde, and the slave no worse than his master; the privations which they endure are common to all, they know of no state happier than their own, and submit to their miserable circumstances as to a law of nature. But in a country like ours, there exists a contrast which continually forces itself upon the eye and upon the reflective faculty. There was a Methodist dabbler in art, who, in the days of our childhood, used to edify the public with allegorical prints from the great manufactory of Carrington Bowles; one of these curious compositions represented a human figure, of which the right side was dressed in the full fashion of the day, while the left was undressed to the very bones, and displayed a skeleton. The contrast in this worse than Mezentian imagination is not more frightful than that between health and squalid pauperism, who are every day jostling in our streets. From the moment when any man begins to think that
The world is not his friend, nor the world's law, the world and the world's law are likely to have that man for their enemy; and if he does not commence direct hostilities against them, he abandons himself to despair, and becomes a useless if not a hurtful member of the community. Attempts to reclaim him by penal statutes are worse than unavailing; they provoke that spirit of stubbornness which oftentimes is only the disease that ill treatment and untoward circumstances produce in a noble disposition. You might as well attempt to stop the progress of contagion, by punishing all who are affected by the baneful principles in the air, as to remedy poverty by penal laws against the poor. Children
may sometimes be reformed by punishment, but even for children it is the clumsiest and worst means of reformation. Men must be led to their duty, not driven to it. You may deter them from doing what is criminal, but you cannot compel them to do what is right: or if the right thing is done by compulsion, the right will will have been wanting.
• Laws,' says Sir Thomas Bernard, have been made to compel industry and economy, and workhouses have been erected, and farmed to the best bidder, in order to deter the poor from wanting relief ; but parishes, and parish officers have not as yet been aware that in every instance in which a poor family is driven by distress to take refuge in a workhouse, an incumbrance has been entailed on the funds of the parish never to be redeemed, even in part, except by a change of system; by encouraging that industry and prudence which no act of parliament can compel, and by assisting them with increased means and advantages of life, calculated to enable them to support themselves and their families in their own cottages, without parochial relief.
What reason would teach us to conclude, and what benevolence would induce us to hope, is in these instances abundantly proved by experience. Men are easily led to their duty. “Achild, says the Eastern proverb, may lead the elephant by a single hair.' Try the effect of good will and hope upon the man who has wrapped himself in the covering of a reckless and stubborn despair, and you will see verified the old apologue of the sun, and the wind, and the traveller. His heart will open like a flower that closes at night, and expands its petals to the morning sun. The better parts of his nature will be put forth like the tendrils of the sea-anemone, when it feels the first wave of the returning tide upon its rock. A beautiful instance of the effect of kindness upon a most hopeless subject is related by Mr. Weyland in the volume which is now before us; it would be injustice to the able and benevolent author were we to give it in any other language than his own.
• I have seen a poor deformed cripple in a work-house attain his 20th year with not a spark of moral culture, with ears through which the accents of kindness and encouragement were never directed to his heart; the object of complete neglect, if not of scorn and contempt, to all by whom he was surrounded. His mind not highly endowed by nature, completely blunted by hard usage, approached to idiocy, and his countenance exhibited a mixture of sullenness, envy, and despair. I have seen this miserable object taken by the hand of a benevolent indi. vidual, bis rags exchanged for decent clothing, strange words of kindness and encouragement addressed to his astonished ear, a spelling. book placed in his hand, his steps directed to a Sunday-school, and flattering approbation bestowed upon his earnest but quite abortive efforts to learn to read. Although little actual knowledge was imparted, a more complete moral revolution was never abservable in man. The
eye, before dejected, was lighted up with joy and hope ; the countenance, distorted with envy, and furrowed with the deep lines of despair, relaxed into a cheerful smile; an interest for his own improvement was excited in his mind, and kept alive by the consciousness that his benefactor cared for him. The smile of pleasure, with which that benefactor was constantly greeted, imparted a joy only to be equalled by his humble thankfulness for having been the instrument of such a change in the heart of a fellow-creature. But if these were his feelings as a philanthropist and a Christian, I think that he might also fairly indulge some sense of gratification as a politician. The dirty and vicious babits, to which this poor creature was formerly a prey, were far from incapacitating him from becoming the father of a family as wretched and denuded as himself. He would have been satisfied to lie down with his partner in the bovel of a workbouse, and to pullulate without control. But feelings of decency and self-respect have now induced better habits. His mind is diverted towards objects more remote from the brutal part of his nature, and it is probable that he will, at least, become a barmless if not an useful inember of society.*.pp. 345, 345.
The Society have collected some valuable examples of what may be effected by willing industry, when there is hope to encourage it. A tenant of Mr. Way's, in Suffolk, died, leaving a widow with fourteen children, the eldest of whom was a girl under fourteen years of age : he had rented fourteen acres of pasture land on which he kept two cows; these cows, with his little furniture and clothing, were all the property he left. The parish of which he had been an inhabitant was within the district of an incorporated house of industry, where the rule was to receive proper objects within the walls, but not to allow any thing for the out poor, except in peculiar cases.
The directors of this establishment offered to relieve the widow by taking her seven youngest children into the house. It may be difficult to say what system of affording relief to the poor is best, but this may be affirmed without hesitation, that whatever system tends to weaken the domestic affections by separating child from parent, is radically bad. When this was proposed
to the widow, she replied in great agitation that she would rather die in working to maintain her children, than part with any of them; or she would go with all of them into the house and work for them there ;—but if her landlord would continue her in the farm, (as she called it,) she would undertake to bring up the whole fourteen without any help from the parish. She was a strong woman, about forty-five years old, and of a noble spirit; happily too she had to deal with a benevolent man. He told her she should continue the tenant, and hold the land for the first year rent-free; and at the
* An instance of a similar kind occurred in the Male Asylum at Madras, where the new system of education originated, and was carried to its full perfection.-- See our Eleventh Number, p. 287, where it is given at length.
same time, unknown to her, he directed his receiver not to call upon her afterwards, thinking that even with that indulgence it would be a great thing if she could maintain so large a family. But this further liberality was not needed. She brought her rent regularly every year after the first; held the land till she had placed twelve of the fourteen children in service, and then resigned it to take the employment of a nurse, which would enable her to provide for the remaining two for the little time longer that they needed support, and which was more suited to her declining years. Had the seven children been sent to the House of Industry, they would have cost the parish scarcely less than seventy pounds a year: and the widow and the other children also, had she been deprived of the land, would in all likelihood have soon required parochial support.
Twenty years ago there stood a small cottage by the road side, near Tadcaster, which for its singular beauty, and the neatness of its little garden, attracted the notice of every traveller. The remarkable propriety which appeared in every part of this tenement, made Sir Thomas Bernard curious to learn the history of the owner, and he obtained it from his own mouth. Britton Abbot (such was the owner's name) was a day-labourer: beginning to work with a farmer at nine years old, and being careful and industrious, he had saved nearly 4ól. by the time that he was two-and-twenty. With this money he married and took a farm at 301. a-year, but the farm was too much for his means, and before the end of the second year he found it necessary to give it up, having exhausted almost all his little property. He then removed to a cottage, where with two acres of land and his right of common, he kept two cows, and lived in comfort for nine years; at the expiration of that time the common was enclosed, and he had to seek a new. habitation with six children, and his wife ready to lie.in again. In this state he applied to Mr. Fairfax, and told him that if he would let him have a little bit of ground by the road side he would show him the fashions on it. The slip of land for which he asked was exactly a rood : Mr. Fairfax, after inquiring into his character, suffered him to have it; the neighbours lent him some little assistance in the carriage of his materials; he built his house, enclosed the ground with a single row of quickset, which he cut down six times when it was young, and planted the garden. The manner in which he set to work, and the way in which the work was performed, pleased Mr. Fairfax so much, that he told him he should be rentfree. His answer, as Sir Thomas Bernard justly says, deserves to be remembered. Now, sir, you have a pleasure in seeing my cottage and garden neat: and why should not other squires have the same pleasure in seeing the cottages and gardens as nice about them? The poor would then be happy, and would love them, and