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shores will be continued. It is worthy of remembrance, that Ireland suffered at one time from a nuisance of the same kind, occasioned by the magistrates and parish-officers on the western coasts of England, who for a good while followed the trade of exporting thither their supernumerary beggars, in order (says Swift) to advance the English Protestant interest among us, and these they are so kind as to send over gratis, and duty free. I have had the honour (he says) more than once to attend large cargoes of them from Chester to Dublin, and I was then so ignorant as to give my opinion that our city should receive them into Bridewell, and, after a month's residence, having been well whipt twice a day, fed with bread and water, and put to hard labour, they should be returned honestly back as cheap as they came.' The proposed remedy would have fallen upon the wrong parties; for however richly these vagabonds might have deserved such fare with such accompaniments, they were not the delinquents in this case but Swift would not seriously have advised it; he was one of those men who speak severely and act compassionately, cased in as hard a husk as the cocoa-nut, but with the milk of human kindness in the kernel. The nuisance which he describes proceeded from an abuse of power on the part of certain local authorities, for which they might have been punished by damages, and which, no doubt, was effectually checked as soon as it was complained of. The present immigration of paupers into Great Britain is of infinitely greater magnitude and moment. That was a local nuisance; this is a public evil-the evil effect of an evil cause-and, in its turn, the cause of other effects as evil. Its immediate tendency is to reduce the wages of labour, which are already injuriously low, and thereby to debase the English and Scotch labourers to the condition of the Irish,-that is, to the lowest condition in which animal life can be supported. Born and bred in wretchedness, the Irish are contented to live without those decent comforts the want of, which would shame a Scotchman or an Englishman. Not less direct is the tendency of this deportation to worsen the moral habits of our own people, a mischief which is complained of by the Scotch witnesses; and for its effects upon the public peace, we need not go to Scotland for evidence. There is another thing to be borne in mind. It was part of the operations designed by the Irish conspirators, in 1798, to send over as great a number of United Irishmen into this country as could be done without exciting suspicion; and to have a chosen and sworn body of them in London, ready to co-operate. in an insurrection which they relied upon their English associates for raising, and in which these Irish were to take upon themselves the most desperate part of the execution, though they were to be


kept wholly ignorant of what that precise service was till the time of action came. We have seen by what causes the present influx is occasioned; neither faction nor treason have produced it, nor the ever-restless policy of the Romish priesthood. But faction and treason are ready to take advantage of it; and he must know little of the policy of the Romish church who can suppose that it is not on the watch for every opportunity of increasing the number of Roman Catholics in Great Britain. And if there could be a doubt of the disposition with which their constant debarkation upon our coasts is regarded by the movers of mischief in Ireland, they have removed it by their public speeches. The Guy Fauxites in that country, who carry on their operations, not secretly and by lantern-light, but in broad day, in defiance of the government and of the laws,-who pass and print their resolutions for intimidating the members of the legislature, and who publish, with perfect impunity, harangues which would be deemed treasonable by any other government under heaven, and would not have escaped punishment from a British government in any other age;-these men have boasted of the number of their countrymen in England, and reminded us that they are able, upon occasion, to make a glorious bonfire of London!

This consideration belongs to another subject. How to prevent the immigration of an ejected and destitute population into a country already burdened with the great and increasing numbers of its own poor, is a pressing question which may be calmly considered. It thwarts no common or private interest among us,' and, therefore, if any question may be examined dispassionately in this distempered nation, this may be so discussed. All parties may come to it with fair minds, and the sincere desire of adopting the best remedial measures, as they would for stopping the plague, if the anti-contagion philosophers had succeeded in obtaining a bill for its free importation. When any of these unhappy strangers fail to obtain a livelihood, we know that they may be sent back to Ireland; and that, although the poor-laws do not extend to that part of the united kingdom, the old law of England, by which every parish is bound to maintain its own poor, holds as good* there as any other part of our common law, a point which the proprietors, perhaps, have not been accustomed to consider, but which they, and especially the large class of absentees, would do well to bear in mind.. But to pass these poor creatures back, objects of compassion as they are, were a miserable expedient. The practice of sending back vagabonds to their parish,' said Sir Josiah Child, I have seen many years to signify as much as

*Swift has some excellent remarks upon this subject, in his Proposal for giving Badges to Beggars,

ever it will, which is just nothing of good to the kingdom in general, or the poor thereof, though it be sometimes to some of them a punishment without effect.' This would be the case if Ireland could possibly support the swarms of which the landholders are now endeavouring to rid themselves; and, in point of fact, when any of these outcasts are reshipped from one port, they make their way back to another as speedily as possible. They are not only eager themselves to come over, but others are eager to send them; subscriptions are raised in Ireland for the purpose of landing these miserable outcasts upon our coasts, and fearing that, if sent in large quantities,* they might be returned, the mode pursued was to send them over by forties, giving them money to pay their way, and support them a few days.' Some means for preventing such an exportation might be devised, but none that could preserve this country from a very mischievous influx of such people. Moreover, we have taken Ireland for better for worse, and must bear the worst consequence of the union till we have made the best of it, as it is our duty to do.

- In Swift's days, Ireland was the only Christian country where people, contrary to the old maxim, were the poverty and not the riches of the nation; and where the blessing of “increase and multiply" was by man converted into a curse.' England and Scotland are in a similar condition now; the circumstances which have brought them to it are different, but the effect is the same, differing only in degree, and rapidly approaching to that same degree of the lowest degradation. Far greater numbers might be supported by the land even in Ireland, but not under the existing arrangements of society; and those arrangements cannot undergo any great or sudden change without bringing on evils more dreadful than that which at this time calls for the prompt interference of government, and which, by such interference, may be soon alleviated, and eventually removed. But till there be that interference, it is increasing, and will continue to increase. You cannot check population. Miserable poverty tends only to accelerate it, for it is only among the middle classes that prudential restraint is found; and, if it be accurately affirmed, that the proportion of marriages in England is smaller than in almost any other country, the inference is far from consolatory; it would follow, that in those classes that consideration is regarded too much, for among the poor it is almost totally unknown. There are few labourers of either sex who live to old age unmarried, scarcely any, it has been said, of tolerable character; and this remark may be confirmed by any person's observation. It is in vain, by any prospective enactment, such as eco

*Third Report, p. 465.


nomists have proposed, to war against a propensity which, taken in all its bearings and consequences, is far more frequently a means of elevating and purifying human nature, (blessed be God, who, in his wisdom and his goodness, has appointed that it should be so!) than of lowering and depraving it. It is idle, or worse than idle, to dream of checking it by pulling down cottages, the want of which in sufficient numbers has been justly noticed by Sir Egerton Brydges as one of the most cruel characteristics of the times. Thus to deprive the poor of comfortable habitations, may be a shift resorted to,' says Mr. Courtenay, by farmers and others in the middling classes, for preventing them from gaining settlements; but surely it is not equally probable that the owners of landed estates would have recourse to this revolting and distressing method of lightening the charge upon their property."

Let it be remembered, too, that early marriages, among the poor, have, at least, the effect of keeping down the proportion of illegitimate births, which is estimated at one in twenty; and that, however inconvenient they may be, at present, in the order of society, whatever renders them so, is so far injurious to human happiness, is so far an evil,-is so far indicative of something faulty, something erroneous in society; for they are in the order of nature, which may never with impunity be contravened. Here it is, that the poor have some compensation for the inequality of their lot. The domestic affections are not foregone by them, as they are of necessity by so many, and of supposed necessity by so many more, in the middle and higher ranks of life. Those feelings, the value and importance of which can but faintly be apprehended while they lie undeveloped in the depth of our being, are not pent up in the poor, but are called forth in their natural course;they are worth all that is paid for them, even when they cost us most. An English gentleman, in his evidence before the committee, repeated, with satisfaction, an answer, which he had received from many of the poor in his parish, when he had reasoned with them upon the ill consequences of early marriages: he had the gratification, he said, of hearing them say, You are quite right; the earlier we marry, the sooner we shall have a family, who will be tripping up our heels; and turning us into a poor-house, and taking our work from us!* This gentleman's evidence is of great importance, evincing him to be a truly valuable, as well as able and active, member of society; but, in regarding such a reply with pleasure, he felt as a mere political economist, losing sight of higher considerations. Sorry, indeed, should we be if such a reply were to be taken as a sample of English feeling,-mortified for our national character,-hopeless for our country, if we could

First Report, p. 641.

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believe that the fifth commandment were so set aside in practice among the poor! The answer of an Irish peasant, if he be reasoned with in the same strain, is invariably to this tenor:* ‘Sure, children are the greatest blessing a poor man can have; they are a help to him as they grow up; and keep him from starving when he grows old!' If the English labourer, who has the poor-rates to rely on (and relies on them, under their present administration, too readily,) is not moved by this latter consideration, the former, nevertheless, exists, for him, in its full force. It has been said by a writer, whom this part of his subject has warmed into true eloquence, that in that station of society, the parental affections exist, perhaps, in their greatest vigour; and that the attachments of lower life, where, independent of attachment, there is so little to enjoy, far outstrip the divided, if not exhausted, sensibility of the rich and great.' This is true, so far as it compares the peasant with ' the

*Keating's Letter to Mr. Goulburn, p. 22.


Summary View of the Report and Evidence relative to the Poor Laws, by S. W. Nicoll, York, 1818. In praising the eloquence of this writer, we had the following passage in mind, contrasting the moral and religious education of a charity-school, with that which may and ought to be, and by a little inspection and encouragement from those whom it greatly concerns, might easily, and, generally, be imparted at home.

I listen with great reserve to that system of moral instruction, which has not social affection for its basis, or the feelings of the heart for its ally. It is hot to be concealed that everything may be taught, and yet nothing learnt; that systems, planned with care, and executed with attention, may evaporate into unmeaning forms when the imagination is not roused, or the sensibility impressed.

'Let us suppose the children of the district school, nurtured with that superabundant care, which such institutions, when supposed to be well conducted, are wont to exhibit. They rise with the dawn; after attending to the calls of cleanliness, prayers follow; then a lesson; then breakfast; then work, till noon liberates them for, perhaps, an hour, from the walls of their prison, to the walls of their prison-court. Dinner follows, and then, in course, work, lessons, supper, prayers; at length, after a day, dreary and dull, the counterpart of every day which has preceded, and of all that are to follow, the children are dismissed to bed.

"This system may construct a machine, but it will not form a man. Of what does it consist? Of prayers parroted without one sentiment in accord with the words uttered; of moral lectures, which the understanding does not comprehend, or the heart feel; of endless bodily constraint, intolerable to youthful vivacity, and injurious to the perfection of the human frame.

'The cottage day may not present so imposing a scene; no decent uniform; no welltrimmed locks; no glossy skin; no united response of hundreds of conjoined voices; no lengthened processions, misnamed exercise; but if it has less to strike the eye, it has far more to engage the heart. A trifle in the way of cleanliness must suffice; the prayer is not forgot; it is, perhaps, imperfectly repeated, and confusedly understood; but it is not muttered as a vain sound; it is an earthly parent that tells of a heavenly one; duty, love, obedience, are not words without meaning, when repeated by a mother to her child. To God, the Great Unknown Being, who made all things, all thanks, all praise, all adoration is due. The young religionist may be, in some measure, bewildered by all this; his notions may be obscure; but his feelings will be roused, and the foundation, at least, of true piety will be laid.

Of moral instruction, the child may be taught less at home than at school; but he will be taught better; that is, whatever he is taught, he will feel; he will not have bstract propositions of duty coldly presented to his mind, but precept and practice

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