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been thrown down-the fields are in better shape and of handsomer dimensions—the plough makes longer furrows--there is more corn and fewer weeds ;--but look at the noblest produce of the earthlook at the children of the soil-look at the seeds which are sown here for immortality! Is there no deterioration there ? Does the man stand upon the same level in society ; does he hold the same place in his own estimation when he works for another as when he works for himself; when he receives his daily wages for the sweat of his brow, and there the fruit of his labour ends, as when he enjoys day by day the advantage of his former toil, and works always in hope of the recompense which is always to come? The small farmer, or, in the language of Latimer and old English feeling, the yeoman, had his roots in the soil,--this was the right English tree in which our heart of oak was matured. Where he grew up, he decayed; where he first opened his eyes, there he fell asleep. He lived as his fathers had lived before him, and trained up his children in the same way. The daughters of this class of men were brought up in habits of industry and frugality, in good principles, hopefully and religiously, and with a sense of character to support. Those who were not married to persons of their own rank, were placed in service; and hence the middle ranks were supplied with that race of faithful and respectable domestic servants-the diminution and gradual extinction of which is one of the evils (and not the least) that have arisen from the new system of agriculture. One of the sons succeeded, as a thing of course, to the little portion of land which his fathers had tenanted from generation to generation. If among the boys there was one of a studious turn, he became the schoolmaster of the village, or by help of endowed schools, and the wise provision which our pious ancestors made for such cases in the Universities, or perhaps the occasional bounty of a liberal patron, he was bred up for holy orders; and as in these cases natural aptitude and the strong desire alone were consulted, it was from hence that the Church received most of its ablest and most distinguished members. The sense of family pride and family character was neither less powerful nor less beneficial in this humble rank, than it is in the noblest families when it takes its best direction. But old tenants have been cut down with as little remorse and as little discrimination as old timber, and the moral scene is in consequence as lamentably injured as the landscape !
If the small farmer did not acquire wealth, he kept his station. The land which he had tilled with the sweat of his brow, while his strength lasted, supported him when his strength was gone : his sons did the work when he could work no longer; he had his place in the chimney corner, or the bee-hive chair; and it was the light of his own fire which shone upon his gray hạirs. Compare this with the old age of the day-labourer, with parish allowance for a time, and the parish workhouse at last! He who lives by the wages of daily labour, and can only live upon those wages, without laying up store for the morrow, is spending his capital; a time must come when it will fail ; in the road which he must travel, the poor house is the last stage on the way to the grave. Hence it arises, as a natural result, that looking to the parish as his ultimate resource, and as that to which he must come at last, he cares not how soon he applies to it. There is neither hope nor pride to withhold him: why should he deny himself any indulgence in youth, or why make any efforts to put off for a little while that which is inevitable at the end? That the labouring poor feel thus, and reason thus, and act in consequence, is beyond all doubt; and if the landholders were to count up what they have gained by throwing their estates into large farms, and what they have lost by the increase in the poor-rates, of which that system has been one great cause, they would have little reason to congratulate themselves on the result. The system which produces the happiest moral effects will be found also most beneficial to the interest of the individual and to the general weal: upon this basis the science of political economy will rest at last, when the ponderous volumes with which it has been overlaid shall have sunk by their own weight into the dead sea of oblivion.
If it be allowable to give political application to a sacred metaphor, hope may be called the salt of the earth; it is the preserving principle without which the faculties of the individual stagnate and decay, and social bodies corrupt and go to dissolution. The im. proved system' in great measure deprives the lower class of agricul. turists of this impulse and support. While small farms existed, the labouring husbandman might look on to one as the reward of his industry and good character ;-it was for him the attainable point of hope, but it exists for him no longer; the step has been taken from the ladder, and when he looks upward now there is a gap in the scale, which no exertion on his part can possibly surmount. Is there no evil in this to the state as well as to the individual ? When hope leaves the mind, discontent enters it; and where that evil spirit is in possession, it is not long before he taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself! The harrow has gone over the ground, and they who sow disaffection, sedition, and insurrection, find it ready for the banesul seed. With what success those seeds have been scattered by the apostles of anarchy, who are never weary in ill doing, recent events may prove. Possibly those events might not have occurred, certainly they could not have occurred to the same extent, if the improved system' had not destroyed the small farms--if great cultivators, like Aaron's rod, had not swallowed up the small farmers. The men who grow corn are never the men who set fire to it. A large proportion of the misled multitude who have been burning barns and corn-stacks, would have been aiding the civil power to repress these frantic outrages, if they had had their own little property to defend. Let us not deceive ourselves! governments are safe in proportion as the great body of the people are contented, and men cannot be contented when they work with the prospect of want and pauperism before their eyes, as what must be their destiny at last. If you would secure the state from within as well as from without, you must better the condition of the
poor. In the natural course of things, the peasantry are as strongly attached to a government which
protects them, and frets them with po vexatious interference, (be that government in other respects good or ill,) as a Highland clan to their hereditary chief, or the vassals of old to their immediate lord, when by his personal qualities he deserved their attachment. Of this we have two memorable instances in La Vendée and in Spain. La Vendée is a country of small farms; the peasantry there were contented with their lot; they were well instructed according to theirchurch, (erroneous and idolatrous as that church is,) by the parochial clergy; and never was a nobler spirit of loyalty exhibited by any race of men than they displayed in defence of the throne and the altar. The anarchy which ravaged France,' says the Count de Puisaye, "owed its first successes to the wretchedness, the corruption, and the fury of the populace of its towns. It might have been checked in its progress by the courage of the inhabitants of the country. These two classes, of which the one is every where the vilest, as the other is the most useful of society, constitute that part of the people in which the physical strength of the state resides. When they are united, nothing is capable of resisting them; opposed one to the other, every thing will be to the advantage of the peasantry, if they are well conducted. There is but one thing common to them the ignorance of the one, and the simplicity of the other, render them equally susceptible of enthusiasm ; but as that enthusiasm cannot have the same principles, so neither can it have the same objects. The peasantry give themselves up to a good impulse with the same facility as the town populace let themselves be led away to evil. The one being discontented with their lot, are always ready for insurrection, in the hope of changing it; the other, submitting to their station, decide coolly, but will resist for the sake of keeping themselves as they are. From the habit of that submission arise the perseverance and tenacity which are peculiar to them. Here, restlessness, chagrin, and discomfort produce an opposition of interests and ideas,--envy, suspicion, indiscipline, and disorder; there, the sense of a common interest in the benefits of a simple and virtuous education, and the instinct of revering that which is above human nature, guarantee confidence, union, subordination, and regularity.' 'In the condition of low and rustic life,' says Wordsworth, the essential passions of the heart find a better soil in which they can attain their maturity. In the circumstances and feelings of this class he has found materials for poetry of a high order: our readers need not be reminded of the disquisitions upon this subject with which the periodical press has been persecuted by critics of all dimensions ; but that this philosophic poet has rightly estimated the native character of the peasant, is strongly proved by M. de Puisaye's testimony to the virtues of the peasantry in France. It is almost exclusively,' says he, in that class of men whom riches had not corrupted, and whom philosophism had not deprived of the support of religion, that I have found at all times sentiments of fidelity, of discretion, and of devotedness carried even to heroism. The apparatus of punishment, and the blow of death suspended over their heads, could never intimidate them.”
These high moral qualities exist in a virtuous peasantry, and are called forth like latent heat, when put to the test. In the natural course of things they should be the most contented part of the community: when they are otherwise, that course has been influenced by some disturbing causes.
One main cause has been indicated in the present state of society, which, by rendering agriculture a branch of great commercial speculation, has worsened the general condition of the agricultural class. Another is to be found in the efforts of political faction, and the very different degree of zeal with which goodandevil principles are inculcated among them. The good instruction which they receive is limited to what they may gather at church from a weekly sermon--it is of direct instruction that we are speaking)-upon this cold and meagre diet faith could not be kept alive, if it had not in itself a principle of vitality which is almost indestructible. Any other religious instruction that may reach the peasantry comes from the Methodists, and brings with it a proud spirit of contempt for the clergy, and of hostility towards the establishment. Let us now see in what manner their political lessons are inculcated. Every village has its alehouse, and most villages have two or three. Every alehouse has its newspaper, and a large majority of newspapers are enlisted against the government. The factious journalists are in opposition to their country during times of war, and to the government of the country at all times. True to this spirit of opposition, and to this alone, they advance with the same vehemence any principle which may suit their immediate purpose, blind to, or heedless of the
grossest and most palpable self-contradictions. But self-contradictions matter little; they address themselves to the discontented, the unthinking, and the uninstructed;--the most senseless declamation, the most shameless misrepresentation will pass current in the taproom, and by the ale-house fire;-and the journalist poisons the minds of the populace with his weekly dose of sedition, while the distiller is poisoning their livers with ardent spirits, or the brewer is inducing diseases not less formidable with his decoction of quassi and cocculus indicus. They who join at church in supplications that the Lord will deliver us from all sedition, listen at the alehouse to the weekly epistles of the apostles of sedition with the implicit faith of honest simplicity, at a time too when their animal feelings are in a pleasurable state from the warmth of a cheerful fire, the sense of comfort which is produced by rest after labour, the excitement of company, and of deleterious liquor;—their pores are open,
and the whole infection is taken in. According to the anarchists, government is the root of all the evils which afflict the country, and the cure of all those evils is political reform. In faithful imitation of the French--untaught by their errors, and undeterred by their crimes and their punishment-they proclaim that for a nation to be reformed, it is sufficient that she wills it; and the hopeful end at which they are aiming is to make the multitude declare this their sovereign will and pleasure. God help the simple understandings of men who suppose that the condition of the people can be ameliorated by means like these, and that the fear of the mob is the beginning of wisdom in a government! And God forgive the deliberate guilt of those who perseveringly endeavour to make the mob sensible of their strength, and breathe into them their own spirit of envy, hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness ! Among the manufacturing populace they have been but too successful ; they have laboured not without success among the agricultural part of the people ; and if the army and navy are not discontented also, it is not their fault.
• The people,' says Bishop Warburton,' are much more reasonable in their demands on their patriots than on their ministers: of their patriots they readily accept the will for the deed; but of their ministers they unjustly interpret the deed for the will." In these times we could not desire a more favourable interpretation : • by their fruits ye shall no them. The foreign policy of nur government has been such that more signal successes could not have been anticipated or desired,than have actually been attained; and in domestic concerns its acts may be appealed to as the best indication of its intentions. It is indeed impossible that in any enlightened part of Europe a government can be so behind hand