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the gold mines of Africa sent in rich returns to him, and the greater part of Morocco paid him tribute : to these treasures Joam III. succeeded, and never was there a period of greater national distress arising from poverty than at the commencement of his reign. It was thus in Spain, when ships came laden with silver and gold from Mexico and Peru-the fact was distinctly seen, and the cause distinctly stated by a contemporary writer;* the influx of specie produced a diminution in the value of money, and habits of lavish expenditure in the rich ; rents were raised; all the necessaries of life advanced in price ; the burden fell upon the poor; and of the wealth which poured into the country in fullstreams, all that reached them was in the shape of more abundant alms, which made them more dependent than they were before, without preventing them from being more miserable. These cases are clear and specific ; an increase of national wealth produced an increase of poverty among the great body of the people ; and these things were not accidentally co-existent; they were cause and effect. The cases are also in point; Mr. Colquhoun's book shows that British industry and enterprise have produced wealth in as great abundance as the mines of Hispaniola and Peru, the gold of Africa, or the spices of the east.
The growing demands of government, and the growing luxury of the higher classes, produced a similar effect in the first year of our Reformation. The great distress of the peasantry in those times, and the rapid increase of mendicants, have been ascribed to the dissolution of the monasteries, whereby the sources of charity to which the poor had been wont to apply were suddenly dried up,
I let pass, says Sir William Barlowe in his Dialogue, my Lord Cardinal's act in pulling down and suppressing religious places ; our Lord assoil his soul! I will wrestle with no souls: he knoweth by this time whether he did well or evil. But this dare I be bold to say, that the countries where they stood found such lack of them, that they would he had let them stand. And think you then that there would be no lack found if the remnant were so served too?: I wene men would so sore miss them, that many which speak against them would soon labour with his own hands to set them up again. The loss of the alms which the monasteries used to distribute must however have been an evil partial in its operation, and in itself insignificant; the way in which the peasantry were injured at the Reformation was by turning the abbey tenants over from the sort of parental tenure under which they then lived to lay landlords, unconnected with them by any habit or hereditary feelings, who lived at a distance, and racked their tenants to support the expense of a court life. As in the Highlands at this time, Latimer complains that in tracks which formerly were well peopled, only a shepherd and his dog were to be found. Society cannot perhaps advance without passing through changes such as these ; but they produce immediate evil and perilous consequences. In that age, as in this, great advances were made in civilization; and changes of this kind can no more take place without derangement in the commonwealth, than any new functions in the animal frame can develope themselves without a feverish excitement of the system, and a tendency to diseases more or less dangerous. A fashion of ambitious expenditure prevailed, which made men live to the utmost of their means; the exertions which were called forth to make the income keep pace with the outgoings roused a spirit of enterprise, which displayed itself both in evil and good; commercialand privateering adventures were undertaken abroad; at home, trades and professions raised their prices and their fees, the manufacturer worsened his wares, the landholder increased his rents, and the lord enclosed what had before been common ground. Latimer, whose sermons are full of information respecting the state of England in his days, repeatedly cries out against these things.
* The Inca Garcilasso, vol. ii. book i. chap. 7. The passage is so remarkable that we shall quote it in part. Los que miran con otros ojos que los comunes, las riquezas que el Peru ba embiado al mundo viejo, y derramadolas por todo el, dizen que antes le han dañado que aprovechado; porque dizen-que si han cresido las rentas de los ricos, para que ellos vivan en abundancias y regulos, tambien han crescido las miserias de los pobres; para que ellos mueran de hambre y desnudez; por la cares. tia que el mucho dinero ha causado en los mantenimientos y vestidos; que aunque sea pobremente ya los pobres el dia de oy, no se pueden vester ni comer, por la mucha carestia, y que esta es la causa de aver tantos pobres en la republica, que mejor lo passavan quando no avia tanta moneda : que aunque entonces, por la falta della, eran las limosnas mas cortas que las de aora, les eran mas provechosas, por la mucha barata que avia en todo. De manera que concluyen con dezir que las riquezas del nuevo mundo, si bien se miran, no han aumentado las cosas necessarias para la vida bumana (que son el comer, y el vestir, y por ende provechosas) sino encarecidolas, gamugerado los bombres en las fuerzas del entendimiento, y en las del cuerpo, y en sus trages, y habito y costumbres, y que con lo que antes tenian vivian mas contenfos, y eran temidos de todo el mundo.'
VOL. XV. NO. XXIX.
• I doubt,' says the good old Bishop, "most rich men bave too much, for without too much we can get nothing. As for example: the physician; if the poor man be diseased, he can have no help without too much; and of the lawyer the poor man can get no counsel, expedition, nor help in his matter, except he give him too much. At merchants' hands no kind of ware can be bad, except we give for it too much, You laudlords, you rent-raisers, it should be remembered that he was preaching before the Court), “I may say you step-lords, you unnatural lords, you have for your possessions yearly too much. For that here before went for twenty or sixty pounds by year, which is an honest portion to be had gratis in one lordship of another man's sweat and labour, let for fifty or an hundred pounds by year.
Of this 'too much cometh this monstrous and portentous dearth made by man, notwithstanding God doth send us plentifully the fruits of the earth, mercifully, contrary unto our deserts. 'Notwithstanding, too much which these rich
men have, causeth such dearth, that poor men which live of their labour, cannot with the sweat of their face have a living ; all kind of victuals is so dear- pigs, geese, capons, chickens, eggs, &c. ; these things with others are so unreasonably enhanced. And I think verily that if these continue, we shall at length be constrained to pay for a pig a pound.'
In another place he says, • My father was a yeoman, and had no lands of his own ; only he had a farm of three or four pound by year at the uttermost, and hereupon he tilled so much as kept half a dozen men. He had walk for an hundred sheep, and my mother milked thirty kine. He was able and did find the king a harness, with himself and his horse, while he came to the place that he should receive the king's wages. I can remember that I buckled his harness when he went to Blackheath field. He kept me to school, or else I had not been able to have preached before the King's Majesty now. He married my sisters with five pound or twenty nobles a-piece ; so that he brought them up in godliness and fear of Goda He kept hospitality for his poor neighbours; and some alms he gave to the poor ; and all this he did of the said farm : where he that now hath it, payeth sixteen pound by the year, or more, and is not able to do any thing for his prince, for himself, nor for his children, or give a cup of drink to the poor.'
When things had found their level after this great change, the condition of the lower classes underwent little alteration either for better or worse till the present reign. At the beginning of this reign, boys went to school in wigs and cocked hats : the change of fashion has not been greater than that which has affected the middle and lower classes of society in many of the most material circumstances of life. We have seen, as in Latimer's days, an extensive system of enclosures, an enormous advance of rents, the diminution, almost the disappearance of small farms, the habits of emulous expensiveness generally prevalent: these we have seen acting far more generally, and upon a far wider scale; and combining with these are the consequences resulting from the mail coach and the steam engine,--the multiplication of newspapers, and the character which they have assumed, -things of which each in itself is not less influential upon the great body of the people than was the mighty event of the Reformation, or of the discovery of the New World. Amid all these changes, Sir Frederick Morton Eden was of opinion that the condition of the day labourers was much more comfortable than it had ever been in what are called the good old times ; and Sir Thomas Bernard thinks his opinion well founded. With great and unaffected respect for both, we cannot but differ from them upon this point,-and appeal to Sir Thomas Bernard's own barometer for the fact. The poor rates have existed more than two centuries, and they incontestibly prove the condition of the day labourer to be worse at present than at any former time during that period. This too should be remembered, that the condition of the middle ranks has been materially improved meanwhile: their comforts, their luxuries, their importance have been augmented tenfold; their intellectual enjoyments have been enlarged and multiplied; the situation of the poor would be relatively worse, if they had only remained stationary, without receiving a proportional increase of comforts; but this has not been the case---it is absolutely worse. The same quantity of labour will no longer procure the same quantity of the necessaries of life. Fuel is one of the first necessaries in this climate ; there was a time when it cost nothing more than the trouble of gathering it, in the greater part of England ; its high price at present, every where except in the immediate vicinity of collieries and canals, is one evil to which the poor is subject now, and to which they were not subject in former times. They are worse fed thanthey were of old. When Peter Heylyn, in the beginning of Charles the First reign, 'painted France to the life,' he described the condition of the peasantry as very wretched and destitute.'
• Search their houses, said he, and you shall find no butter salted up against winter, no powdering tub, no pullein in the rick-barton, no flesh in the pot or at the spit—and what is worse, no money to buy them. The best provision that they can show you, is a piece of bacon wherewith to fatten their pottage, and now and then the inwards of beasts killed for the gentlemen. But of their miseries, this me thinketh is the greatest, that growing so many acres of excellent wheat in the year, and gathering in such a plentiful vintage as they do, they should not yet be so fortunate as to eat white bread, or drink wine, the bread which they eat is of the coarest four, and so black that it cannot admit the name of brown; and as for their drink, they have recourse unto the next fountain.'
In speaking thus of the food of the French peasantry, the traveller manifestly writes as if his own countrymen in the same rank of life were then in a much better condition. Since that time, the diet of the whole English people has been materially altered by the introduction of two articles of food—one from the East, and the other from the West; both which are in use in every cottage throughout the empire,- both which have added greatly to the comfort and well-being of the community in general,
but have become too exclusively the sustenance of the poor,-we speak of tea and potatoes. In Ireland, where the introduction of potatoes has contributed so much to the rapid increase of population, a finer animal race is scarcely to be found than is produced upon this food; but the Irish poor have milk also, with which the English peasantry are very ill supplied; and when potatoes alone are des
pended upon, as is too much the case in England, a more comfortless or impoverishing diet is scarcely to be found. Tea, upon which the female poor chiefly subsist, is, by the warmth which it communicates and its stimulating effects, more exhilarating; but this also relieves the pain of hunger by mechanical distention more than it supplies the waste of nature by adequate sustenance.* • It is a melancholy truth,' says Sir Thomas Bernard, and the concealment will prevent the correction of the evil, that the poor of England are not properly fed.' And to this truth every medical practitioner will bear witness.
The improved system of farming has lessened the comforts of the poor. It has either deprived the cottager of those slips of land which contributed greatly to his support, or it has placed upon them an excessive and grinding rent. But as the comforts of the cottager are diminished, his respectability and his self-respect are diminished also, and hence arises a long train of evils. The pratice of farming upon a great scale has unquestionably improved the agriculture of the country ; better crops are raised at less expense : but in a national point of view, there is something more to be considered than the produce of the land and the profit of the landholders. The well-being of the people is not of less importance than the wealth of the collective body. By the system of adding field to field, more has been lost to the state than has been gained to the soil : the gain may be measured by roods and perches--but how shall the loss be calculated ? The loss is that of a link in the social chain,-of a numerous, most useful, and most respectable class, who, from the rank of small farmers, have been degraded to that of day labourers. True it is, that the ground which they occupied is more highly cultivated—the crooked hedge-rows have
* It is curious to see what dreadful properties were imputed to Tea when its use was beginning to become general,and what dreadful consequences were anticipated from it.
If wecompare the nature of tea,' says a writer in the Grub-street journal, 1737, 'with the nature of English diet, no one can think it a proper vegetable for us. It has no parts fit to be assimilated to our bodies : its essential salt does not hold moisture enough to be joined to the body of an animal : its oil is but very little, and that of the opiate kind, and therefore it is so far from being nutritive that it irritates and frets the nerves and fibres, exciting the expulsive faculty, so that the body may be lessened and weak. ened, but it cannot increase and be strengthened by it. But were it entirely whole. some as balsam or mint, it were yet mischief enough to have our whole populace used to sip warm water in a mincing, effeminate manner, once or twice every day. This mocks the strong appetite, relaxes the stomach, satiates it with trifling light pick-nacks which have little in them to support hard labour. In this manner the bold and brave become dastardly, the strong become weak, the women becomes barren, or, if they breed, their blood is made so poor that they have not strength to suckle, and if they do, the child dies of the gripes In short, it gives an effeminate weakly turn to the people in general.' And the writer goes on imputing the political evils of the last twenty years to the use of tea, and prophesying that if it be continued for another generation, the English must hire foreigners to do their hard labour, and would be come incapable of defending themselves.