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the church-boxes, with others who, change, much individual suffering with living upon bad food, fall into presents itself to the eye of the phivarious diseases,) 200,000 people beg- lanthropist. It is, however, an inging from door to door. These are stance of that apparently severe,

but not only no way advantageous, but a ultimately benevolent economy of very grievous burden to so poor a Providence, by which human entercountry: and though the numbers prise and industry are directed into of them be perhaps double to what' their most beneficial channel ; and it it was formerly, by reason of the is also the dawn of national wealth present great distress, yet in all and prosperity. As long as a comtimes there have been about 100,000 munity remains devoted solely to of these vagabonds, who have lived agricultural pursuits, so much of the without any regard or submission, time of each cultivator is lost or either to the laws of the land, or even wasted, that he can do little more to those of God and nature. No ma than extract from the imperfectly gistrate could ever discover, or be tilled soil a scanty supply of food for informed, which way any of these his own family. There is scarcely wretches died, or that ever they were any surplus to pass into the pockets baptized. Many murders have been of the landlord, or to meet the necesdiscovered among them;

and they sary demands of the state. are not only a most unspeakable op This was precisely the condition pression to poor tenants, (who, if they of the population of England, until give not bread, or some sort of pro- matters came to a crisis in the reign vision, to perhaps forty such villains of Queen Elizabeth. It was the good in one day, are sure to be insulted by fortune of England to have its affairs them,) but they rob many poor peo- at that period

administered by a caple, who live in houses distant from binet unrivalled in sagacity and wisany neighbourhood. In years of plen- dom; they fully appreciated the difty, many thousands of them meet to- ficulties which were to be overcome, gether in the mountains, where they and established a system of laws for feast and riot for many days; and at the management of the poor, admicountry-weddings, markets, burials, rably calculated to answer the ends and other the like public occasions, of humanity, as well as to accelerate they are to be seen, both men and and assist the change which was then women, perpetually drunk, cursing, taking place in the distribution of the blaspheming, and fighting together." population. Until that period, the

The state of things here described only attempts made by the legislaas subsisting, both in England and ture to suppress mendicant idleness Scotland, at the period in question, were confined to the infliction of seis by no means peculiar; it marks an vere pains and penalties; the idle ordinary epoch in the natural pro- beggar was treated as a criminal, gress of population and society. The “ who had no right to be where he cultivable land of every country be was ;” and his presumption in " sitcomes gradually occupied; the po- ting down uninvited at the feast of pulation, continuing to multiply, at nature,” was considered as a crime length overflows. This gives rise to to be expiated only by whipping and want, idleness, and vagrancy. The boring in the ear with “ a red-hot surplus population cannot obtain iron, not exceeding the compass of land to cultivate; and manufactures, an inch ;” and a repetition of his ofnot yet existing, offer them no re fence was punishable even with

This period, whenever it death. Various statutes, both of the occurs, forms a great and important English and Scottish Parliaments, crisis in the internal economy of a passed in the course of the fifteenth nation, constituting, in effect, what and sixteenth centuries, enact,“ that may be termed the transition period, a vagabond above the age of thirteen, from a state purely agricultural, to shall be adjudged to be 'grievously another and a better arrangement of whipped, and burnt through the gristhe community, which takes off the tle of the right ear with a hot iron of surplus hands, not required for till- the compass of an inch, unless some age, to be profitably employed in me credible person will take him into his chanical and manufacturing indus service for a year; and if being of the try. During the progress of this age of eighteen years, he after so fall

source.

manner.

again into a roguish life, he shall suf- their children, all sit round, envelofer death as a felon, unless some cre- ped in smoke. If the family possess dible person will take him into ser- any poultry, a pig, a cow, an ass, or vice for two years; and if he fall a a horse, they are all inmates of the third time into roguish life, he shall cabin, and the provender which they be adjudged a felon.” Bacon and his get for these animals, which some

associates, however, took a different times extends to the luxury of a few 9 view of the matter : They seem to oats, is laid down on the floor, which

- have not only come to the conclusion is composed of the natural earth. ** that the able-bodied beggar had a With all this company, it may easily

right to be here, but that the sound- be conceived that the floor must be limbed varlets, whom the economists nearly as dirty as the highway; yet of that day wished either to transport the whole family generally lie on it, or annihilate, might, if properly set and there is not a seat to be met with to work, be rendered highly produc- in the house. That their clothing aptive to the commonwealth. And to pears so ragged, is entirely their own work they set them accordingly. fault; they are so lazy, that as long This laid the foundation of our pre- as they can get any new clothing, sent national greatness; it called into they will never mend any of the old. full play the whole physical force of They never darn a hole in a stocking, the population, and directed it ulti- but wear it till the foot comes off'; mately into the channels best adapted and they treat every other part of to promote the accumulation, as well their dress in the same as creation, of public wealth. “ The broad and striking contrast,”

The present distribution of the observes Sir John Walsh, “ which Irish population seems to bear con- the face of the country, and the considerable resemblance to that which dition of the people, present to the prevailed in this country as lately as eye of the traveller arrived from the the close of the sixteenth century; rich agricultural counties of Salop and until that period, many of the evils Chester, or the manufacturing disnow complained of in Ireland exist- tricts of Lancashire, has not been suffied here; and it appears at least pro- ciently dwelt upon. He has just left bable, that they would yield to the the well-clothed peasantry, the neat discreet application of the same re cottages, the large, comfortable farmmedy.

houses, surrounded by a little town It will be seen that we advocate of barns and out-houses; the strong, the introduction into Ireland of a pro- sleek cart-horses ; the compact, wellper system of laws for the manage built waggons, carts, and agriculment of the poor, not for the pur- tural implements ; the neat, trim pose of enabling the idle to subsist fences; in fine, all the marks of high at the expense of the industrious, but and expensive farming which meet of forcing the owners of land to pay the eye in almost all the midland and some attention to the habits and oc southern counties of England; or he cupations of the peasantry. The mi- has seen the bustle and commercial sery which prevails among the Iris activity, the immense manufactures, population is all brought on, not by the swarming population, the wealth, any peculiar oppression under which and prosperity, of the neighbourhood they labour, but by their own bad of Manchester and Liverpool. He management and inactivity. They finds on the other side of the channel are mostly stout and active, and can a naked country, with a character of work well if they will; but the will neglect and desolation. He does not to work is generally wanting. Hence at first perceive the numerous brownthe quality of their fare, the slovenly looking thatched huts which are scatappearance of their dwellings, and tered in all parts, and which, at least, the raggedness of their clothing: A prove that there is no deficiency of large proportion of them live entirely inhabitants. He looks in vain for the on potatoes and salt, with an occa- houses of the better class of yeomen sional supply of milk in the summer and farmers. The nearest approach months. The fire being in the mid- to them are a few low cottages, whitedle of the hovel, the pot in which washed, slated roofs, small windows, they boil the potatoes is set on three the frames not painted, and the glas stones, and the man, his wife, and broken, Nowhere does he see il

ters have taken pains to encourage in the year 1579, severe punishments this opinion, and to hold up the state are enacted against all idle vagaof Scotland as affording a striking bonds whom no person will employ, contrast to that of England, in being and also upon all jugglers, playcomparatively exempt from the mi ers at fast and loose, all persons callseries of pauperism; and this has ing themselves Egyptians, and habeen attributed to an exemption from ving neither land nor houses, all minany system making a compulsory strels and taletellers, and also schoprovision for the poor. The modelars of universities, not having licenof providing for the poor of Scotland ses to beg. This same act likewise is this:-a collection is made for provides that the magistrates shall that purpose every Sabbath-day at take an inquisition of all the poor, the kirk; if the necessary demands and shall register their names, and of the indigent should, as they ge- that every poor person shall go to nerally do, exceed the amount thus his own parish within forty days of collected by voluntary contribution, notice. If any of them are able to the next step is a meeting of the he- work, employment is to be procured ritors or landed proprietors of the for them. If not, the magistrates are parish, who in general agree to raise to fix what sum will be necessary for à specified sum, and retire on the their maintenance, and shall tax all understanding that each will contri- the inhabitants of the parish accordbute to it in proportion to his inte ingly, a new term being made every rest in the parish. The fund thus year. In a subsequent act, passed in raised is distributed under the su 1597, to obviate the want of justices, perintendence of the minister, acting the execution of the act of 1579 was, under the advice, and with assistance, in county parishes, committed to the of the Kirk Session. This is proba- Kirk-Session. bly the ground on which Mr Malthus It cannot, we think, be denied, and others have ventured to assert that, in principle, the laws affecting that the poor of Scotland are in ge- the poor of Scotland bear a close reneral supported by voluntary contri- semblance to the poor-laws of Engbutions, distributed under the in- land ; indeed, the act of 1579, which, spection of the minister of the pa- with a few amendments subsequentrish, having no claim of right to relief; ly made, forms our code of poorand the supplies from the mode of laws, is almost a literal transcript of their collection being necessarily un an English statute passed seven years certain, and never abundant, the poor before ;-in the fourteenth of Elizahave considered them merely as a beth. It is no doubt true, that, owing last resource, in cases of extreme to a difference in the state of society, distress. But a reference to the and the fact that with us the power of records of the Scottish parliament levying assessments, and granting rewill prove that the benevolence of lief, is vested in those who are chiefly the heritors is not quite so voluntary liable to the support of the poor, the as its eulogists represent it. These practice of the two countries is to a documents, when consulted, will be certain extent different. It must, found to exhibit a striking similari. how ver, be observed, that in those ty in the progress and state of the districts in which the ancient rural people, and in the measures adopted system has been broken up, and to suppress vagrancy, both in the farms have been consolidated, we northern and southern parts of this are rapidly and unavoidably falling island. Nearly at the same time simi- into the English practice. In those lar acts were passed in Scotland du- parts of Scotland which have for ring the reign of James the Sixth, some time been exposed to the inand in England during that of Eliza- fluence of this change, it is no longbeth, establishing a compulsory pro- er contended that the poor rate is vision for the poor. Various cruel not compulsory; but throughout, by and arbitrary acts passed at previous substituting the expression heritors periods in both countries, having (or proprietors) for occupiers, and utterly failed to suppress the outrages kirk-session for vestry-meeting, we committed by vagabonds, or to pre- have an exact description of what vent beggary ; by, an act of the takes place in England, and of prosixth parliament of James the Sixth, ceedings which must evidently, in

consumer.

made to improve the condition of means be converted into a producthe miserable peasantry of Ireland. tive labourer, and would become the The Legislature have wasted session creator of a revenue to the landoinafter session in discussing measures ers, instead of continuing an idle of relief for the wealthier classes ; but it cannot devote one hour to General vagrancy is the unavoidsearch for means to remedy the mis able result of the want of a system sery in which the mass of the people to provide a maintenance for the is steeped. Never was the poor of poor: where no poor laws exist perany other nation, either heathen or sons unable to work must necessariChristian, left in so destitute, in so ly be allowed to ask for charity: the pitiable and forlorn a state, as those affluent are compelled to submit with of Ireland. In all other countries, patience to the inconvenience of some revenues have been set aside being importuned and beset in the for the relief of the impotent pauper ; streets, on the roads, and at their but in Ireland the dreams of the eco houses. The poor of England and nomists have been realized, and the Scotland are supported either in palame, the halt, the blind, the aged, and rish workhouses, or in their own cotthe orphan poor have been left en tages, by a fund levied indiscrimitirely to the unaided assistance of nately and equally upon the owners casual and individual charity. It is, of real property. This is the price however, perfectly clear, that the which the British public pays for the condition of the Irish population is a luxury of being exempt from the dissubject which will ere long force it- tressing scenes of mendicant wretchself irresistibly upon the attention edness which haunt the traveller in of Parliament. If it be not deter every corner of Ireland; and it is a mined that the whole nation should price, which every one who knows be consigned to permanent barbarity,

the extent of the evil, where not prothe adoption of some system for the vided against, pays willingly and suppression of vagrancy, and the re- cheerfully. It is also obvious, that lief of the impotent poor, will be- wherever the support of the indigent come a matter, not of choice, but of is left to private charity, the burden absolute necessity. If no plan for must fall unequally upon the mememploying the wandering poor of bers of the community possessing Ireland be arranged and carried into means to contribute. The benevoeffect, there can be no doubt that lent, the feeling, and the religious, they will very rapidly multiply, and are induced to bestow. their property that they will continue as felons to and their time, and even endanger purloin, or as unfortunate vagrants their health, in efforts to alleviate the to extort, a subsistence from the own afflictions of their fellow-creatures

property. The proprietors of but the proud and hard-hearted make Ireland err egregiously in supposing no such sacrifices; they continue in they can derive any real advantage the selfish enjoyment of their riches, from neglecting their mendicant and their property remains undimipoor. The cost of maintaining them nished by the calls of benevolence in a state of vagrancy must inevita and by the tears of the wretched. An bly fall upon the produce of land, equal rate for the relief of the poor and form a deduction from the rent. is therefore the only means of reachThis horde of mendicants is no doubt, ing the pockets of this class, and comin the first instance, maintained by pelling them to bear their fair prothe renter of land ; but this is a drain portion of the burden of maintaining on his resources, of which he

regu

the

poor, larly calculates the probable amount, It would appear that both in Engand which, to that extent, diminishes land and elsewhere much misconthe surplus produce that would other- ception prevails with regard to the wise fall to the share of the landlord. laws affecting the poor of Scotland. Hence it is clear, that it is both the It seems to be conceived duty and the interest of those who have no Poor Laws, and that the inpossess property in Ireland to re digent inhabitants of this part of the press the vagrancy and improve the United Kingdom being but few in condition of their poor countrymen. number, are supported entirely by The idle mendicant would by that voluntary contributions. Many wria

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ters have taken pains to encourage in the year 1579, severe punishments
this opinion, and to hold up the state are enacted against all idle vaga-
of Scotland as affording a striking bonds whom no person will employ,
contrast to that of England, in being and also upon all jugglers, play-
comparatively exempt from the mi ers at fast and loose, all persons call-
series of pauperism; and this has ing themselves Egyptians, and ha-
been attributed to an exemption from ving neither land nor houses, all min-
any system making a compulsory strels and taletellers, and also scho-
provision for the poor. The modelars of universities, not having licen-
of providing for the poor of Scotland ses to beg. This same act likewise
is this:-a collection is made for provides that the magistrates shall
that purpose every Sabbath-day at take an inquisition of all the poor,
the kirk; if the necessary demands and shall register their names, and
of the indigent should, as they ge- that every poor person shall go to
nerally do, exceed the amount thus his own parish within forty days of
collected by voluntary contribution, notice. If any of them are able to
the next step is a meeting of the he- work, employment is to be procured
ritors or landed proprietors of the for them. If not, the magistrates are
parish, who in general agree to raise to fix what sum will be necessary for
a specified sum, and retire on the their maintenance, and shall tax all
understanding that each will contri- the inhabitants of the parish accord-
bute to it in proportion to his inte ingly, a new term being made every
rest in the parish. The fund thus year. In a subsequent act, passed in
raised is distributed under the su 1597, to obviate the want of justices,
perintendence of the minister, acting the execution of the act of 1579 was,
under the advice, and with assistance, in county parishes, committed to the
of the Kirk Session. This is proba- Kirk-Session.
bly the ground on which Mr Malthus It cannot, we think, be denied,
and others have ventured to assert that, in principle, the laws affecting
that the poor of Scotland are in ge- the poor of Scotland bear a close re-
neral supported by voluntary contri- semblance to the poor-laws of Eng-
butions, distributed under the in- land ; indeed, the act of 1579, which,
spection of the minister of the pa- with a few amendments subsequent-
rish, having no claim of right to relief; ly made, forms our code of poor-
and the supplies from the mode of laws, is almost a literal transcript of
their collection being necessarily un an English statute passed seven years
certain, and never abundant, the poor before ;-in the fourteenth of Eliza-
have considered them merely as a beth. It is no doubt true, that, owing
last resource, in cases of extreme to a difference in the state of society,
distress. But a reference to the and the fact that with us the power of
records of the Scottish parliament levying assessments, and granting re-
will prove that the benevolence of lief, is vested in those who are chiefly
the heritors is not quite so voluntary liable to the support of the poor, the
as its eulogists represent it. These practice of the two countries is to a
documents, when consulted, will be certain extent different.

It must, found to exhibit a striking similari- however, be observed, that in those ty in the progress and state of the districts in which the ancient rural people, and in the measures adopted system has been broken up, and to suppress_vagrancy, both in the farms have been consolidated, we northern and southern parts of this are rapidly and unavoidably falling island. Nearly at the same time simi- into the English practice. In those lar acts were passed in Scotland du- parts of Scotland which have for ring the reign of James the Sixth, some time been exposed to the inand in England during that of Eliza- fluence of this change, it is no longbeth, establishing a compulsory pro- er contended that the poor rate is vision for the poor. Various cruel not compulsory; but throughout, by and arbitrary acts passed at previous substituting the expression heritors periods in both countries, having (or proprietors) for occupiers, and utterly failed to suppress the outrages kirk-session for vestry-meeting, we committed by vagabonds, or to pre- have an exact description of what vent beggary ; by an act of the takes place in England, and of prosixth parliament of James the Sixth, ceedings which must evidently, in

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