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felf privately at half of the expence that is neceffary in a poor-house.
So far we have travelled on folid ground; and what follows is equally folid. Among the industrious, not many are reduced fo low, but that they can make fome shift for themfelves. The quantity of labour that can be performed by thofe who require aid, cannot be brought under any accurate eftimation. To pave the way to a conjecture, those who are reduced to poverty by diffoluteness or fheer idlenefs, ought abfolutely to be rejected as unworthy of public charity. If fuch wretches can prevail on the tender-hearted to relieve them privately, so far well: they ought not to be indulged with any other hope. Now laying these afide, the quantity of labour may be fairly computed as half maintenance. Here then is another great article faved to the public. If a man can be maintained privately at half of what is neceffary in a poor- houfe, his work, reckoning it half of his maintenance, brings down the fum to the fourth part of what is neceffary in a poor-house.
Undistinguished charity to the deferving and undeserving, has multiply'd the poor;
and will multiply them more and more without end. Let it be publicly known that the diffolute and idle have no chance to be put on a charity-roll; the poor, inflead of increafing, will gradually diminifh, till none be left but proper objects of charity, fuch as have been reduced to indigence by old age or innocent misfortune. And if that rule be ftrictly adhered to, the maintenance of the poor will not be a heavy burden. After all, a house for the poor may poffibly be a frugal fcheme in England where the parifh-rates are high, in the town of Bedford for example. In Scotland, it is undoubtedly a very unfrugal scheme.
Hitherto of a poor-houfe with respect to economy. There is another point of ftill greater moment; which is to confider the influence it has on the manners of the inhabitants. A number of perfons, firangers to each other, and differing in temper and manners, can never live comfortably together will ever the fober and innocent make a tolerable focicty with the idle and profligate? In our poor-houfes accordingly, quarrels and complaints are endlets. The family fociety and that of a nation unVOL. III.
der government, are prompted by the common nature of man; and none other. In monafteries and nunneries, envy, detraction, and heart-burning, never cease. Sorry I am to observe, that in feminaries of learning concord and good-will do not always prevail, even among the profeffors. What adds greatly to the difeafe in a poorhoufe, is that the people fhut up there, being fecure of maintenance, are reduced to a ftate of abfolute idleness, for it is in vain to think of making them work: they have no care, nothing to keep the blood in motion. Attend to a ftate fo different from what is natural to us. Thofe who are innocent and harmlefs, will languifh, turn difpirited, and tire of life. Thofe of a bustling and reftlefs temper, will turn four and peevifh for want of occupation: they will murmur against their fuperiors, pick quarrels with their neighbours, and fow difcord every where. The worst of all is, that a poor-houfe never fails to corrupt the morals of the inhabitants: nothing tends fo much to promote vice and immorality, as idlenefs among a number of low people collected in one place. Among no fet of people does profligacy more a
bound, than among the feamen in Greenwich hofpital.
A poor-houfe tends to corrupt the body no less than the mind. It is a nursery of diseases, fostered by dirtiness and crouding.
To this fcene let us oppose the condition of those who are fupported in their own. houses. They are laid under the neceffity of working with as much affiduity as ever; and as the fum given them in charity is at their own difpofal, they are careful to lay it out in the most frugal manner. If by parfimony they can fave any fmall part, is their own; and the hope of encreasing this little stock, fupports their fpirits and redoubles their industry. They live innocently and comfortably, because they live industriously; and industry, as every one knows, is the chief pleasure of life to those who have acquired the habit of being conftantly employ'd.
A Great City confidered in Phyfical, Moral, and Political Views.
TN all ages an opinion has been preva
lent, that a great city is a great evil; and that a capital may be too great for the ftate, as a head may be for the body. Confidering however the very fhallow reafons that have been given for this opinion, it fhould feem to be but flightly founded. There are feveral ordinances limiting the extent of Paris, and prohibiting new buildings beyond the prefcribed bounds; the first of which is by Henry H. ann. 1549. Thefe ordinances have been renewed from time to time, down to the 1672, in which year there is an edict of Louis XIV. to the fame purpofe. The reafons affigned are,
First, That by enlarging the city, the
"air would be rendered unwholefome. Second, That cleaning the ftrcets would prove a great additional labour. Third, That adding to the number of inhabitants would raife the price of provi