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system. The Ministers are now (ceived in the same way; but, doing all they can do to restore when, in 1814, I reyisited the us to happiness ; for, to talk of English Labourer's dwelling, and happiness, national prosperity that, too, after having so recently and happiness, while the millions witnessed the happiness of laare in a state of starvation and bourers in America ; when I saw degradation is almost blasphemy. that the clock was gone; that even The Ministers, in spite of all the Sunday-coat was gone ; when the base endeavours to inti- I saw those whom I had known midate them, have given us the most neat, chearful and happy gold and a return to a just beings on earth, and these my balance for the Labourer. This own country men too, had, beit was their duty to do. If|come the most wretched and forthe Landlords pay too much to lorn of human beings, I looked thé Fund-lords, let them obtain a seriously and inquired patiently law for their relief. If they find into the matter; and this inquiry the army, the pensions, the sala- into the causes of an effect which ries, the grants to clergy, to emi. had so deep an impression on my grants, to military academies, to mind, led to that series of exeryeomanry cavalry; if they findtions, which have occupied my these too expensive, too high to whole life, since thut time, to betbe paid in gold ; let them appealter the lot of the Labourers. The to the parliament for relief. But, unprincipled, malignant and bra- , let them make no attempts to zen villains, who fatten under the .. bring the Labouring Classes wings of corruption, have acback under the harrow, the lace-cused me of inconsistency. There rating, the torturing harrow of are the thirty eight volumes of the paper-money.
Register. Let them say, whether As for me, who has so much to I have not constantly been laforgive as I have? Who has been bouring for nineteen years to efso persecuted by this long train fect such a change as should tend of Pittite Ministers? Yet, so to restore the Labouring Classes grateful do I feel for the good to a state of happiness. Let those now done . to the Labouring volumes say whether I have been Classes, that I freely forgive fickle; whether I have changed them; yea, Sidmouth and all; and chopped about... Let and I am not a little pleased at those volumes say, whether the the thought, that he who made a great and ever-prevailing burjest of " the revered and 1 uptured then of my complaints has not “ Ogden” has withdrawn himselfbeen, the ruin, the starvation, from all participation in this for the degradation of the English giveness-demanding merit. The Labouring Classes by the means of Ministers may, nay they must, taxation co-operating with an inferhave been deceived : they were nal paper money system. For many dazzled with the splendid effects reasons have I hated and detested of a plunder of the Labouring the system. I have hated it beClass. I myself, in the early cause it gave a predominance to part of my writing life was de- suddenly-acquired wealth; be
cause it caused Jews, jobbers, and then my happiness is comloan-mongers, East India adven- plete. . Not as a straw in compaturers, and all sorts of vermin to rison with the stack do I think of come and domineer over the peo- all my own sufferings and losses. ple; because it destroyed English | Let the Westminster Don, let hospitality; because it took from England's Glory” chuckle at the people their natural magis- the comparison between his three trates, and put unfeeling wretches months walk in the King's Bench in their stead; because, to and my two years in Newgate answer its fiscal purposes, it took and thousand pounds fine and away, in numerous cases, the seven years recognizances ; let him trial by jury; because it hardened hug himself in the thought that the all the laws; because it made seventy thousand pounds earned thousands the victims of irresisti- with my pen have been squeezed ble temptation to imitate the base from me and my family by those fabric of paper-money; because various acts of oppression and it engendered a race of spies and fraud, which afforded him the informers so abhorrent to the occasion to promulgate through English heart: for these, and the newspapers, as soon as my many other reasons, I have de-back was turned, an insinuation tested the system; but, my great that I had decamped on account and never-ceasing subject of com- of a debt the very existence of plaint has been, that it starved which he was bound in honour to and degraded the labouring classes keep secret; let him and his saof England. To this great sin oltellites, at their approaching the system I have hung like a Rump Dinner to celebrate " pubull-dog : for the whole nineteen " rity of election,” congratulate years I have never once quitted each other on the pluck that they my bold. And, at last, I see the had at my skin after the feathers object of my labours about to be were stripped off; let him proaccomplished. I have never been mulgate private letters ; let him actuated by any party motive; write answers and not send them, never have felt hostility to the but place copies of them to be government, as government; ne- shown at a shop in the Strand. ver have I desired to see, but Born to an immense estate, loaded always have desired not to see, a with the accumulating wealth of revolution in the bad sense of that ages, wallowing in money, holdword. But, I have been, and I ling: to use his own words, an am, for any thing that will restore enormous “ retaining fee" in the the labouring classes to that kap-cause of the people, let him pass piness, which I, in my youth, saw | another five and twenty years of them enjoy, and which I enjoyed big words and little deeds; and with them. If the labouring let him, if again placed before a classes be to perish, perish, I say, jury of landlords and lig-farmers the whole nation!
Jendeavour to save himself by say. Neither will take place if the ing that he was a friend of the Ministers hold firm. The labour.corn-bill. Let him do all this ing classes will again be happy, over again, and any thing further
that his mind, or the kindred | vice and consent of the Lords Spiritual minds of : Place and Adams, and Temporal, and Commons, in this
Si present Parliament assembled, and by Cleary, Jackson, and wright the authority of the same, That from can suggest: let me see the and after
no greater labourers happy ; let me be re- sum shall be assessed, raised, or le
vied, for the Relief of the Poor, in warded by an approving silent
in any parish, township, or place, in look from them; and let him, England for any one year, than the O God! let him slide out under sum assessed for that purpose in such the apologies and be loaded with parish, township, or place, for the year
ending on the the praises of SCARLETT! :.
5. And to the end that the amount of . I am, friend Hayes,
the sum so assessed for the last year, Your faithful friend,
ending as aforesaid, may be better as
certained ; be it further enacted, That And most obedient servant,
the Constable or Constables of every . WM. COBBETT,
parish, township, or place, maintaining its owo poor, shall, at some Quar
ter or General Sessions of the Peace, APPENDIX.
to be holden within No. 1.-Á BÍLL TO AMEND THE LAWS after the passing of this Act, bring and
RELATING TO THE Relief or the deliver to the Clerk of the Peace for POOR IN ENGLAND
the district within which such parish, 1. Whereas tiie Rates for the Relief township, or place shall be, a Certifiof the Poor have of late years greatly cate in writing, signed by the Overincreased ; and if some timely check seers of the Poor of such parish, be pot provided to prevent the fur- township, or place,'or some of them ther increase thereof, there is reason (who are hereby required, upon deto apprehend, that the lands in many mand, to sign the same), of the aggreparts of England, over-burthened by gate amount of the sum so assessed for the charge of maintaining the Poor, the last year upon such township or will not be worth cultivating.
place, for the 'relief of the Poor; 2. And whereas the habits of indus- which Certificate the Clerk of the try and frugality are most essential to Peace is hereby required to receive the well-being, comfort, and inde- and cause to be entered fairly in a pendence of the labouring Classes ; book to be provided for that purpose, but the too great facility of obtaining for which entry he shall be entitled to relief, by those who are able to work, have, and take from the Constable is calculated to encourage idleness, bringing such Certificate, the sum of extravagance, and imprudence-the
and no more, to be allowed sure forerunners of poverty, misery, to the Constable in his accounts; and and vice.
the Clerk of the Peace shall, 3. And whereas also the Removal of and is hereby required, at all the Poor who are unable to maintain times hereafter, upon application of themselves to the places of their set- any person whatsoever, to furnish a tlement, is attended with great oppres-copy of any such Certificate as may sion to them, as well as great expense, be required, upon receiving the fee of trouble, and litigation, to the different
for his trouble. parishes and townships from and to 6. And be it further enacted, That which they are so removed ; and it is before any Rate, hereafter to be made not reasonable that those who have by for the Relief of the Poor, shall be their labour contributed to enrich one allowed and signed by any of his Maplace, should be removed to another, jesty's Justices of the Peace, such and often very distant place, where Justices are hereby authorised and rethere is no demand for their labour, quired to inquire into the amount of there to be maintained in sickness and the rate or rates already made for the in seasons of scarcity and distress. current year, and to ascertain that the
4. For remedy thereof, and of the same, together with the amount of the several matters aforesaid ; be it there-Rate so to be allowed and signed, does fore enacted, by the King's most ex- not exceed the total amount limited by cellent Majesty, by and with the ad- this Act; provided always that in case it shall be made to appear to such Jus-' ward the present Bill without the pretices, that there is any increased vious sanction or countenance of charge in the County Rates which are Ministers. If he had thought that the payable out of the Poor Rates, which measure, or any thing like it, would may require an additional assessment have been brought forward under the beyond the assessment for the relief sanction of Government, he would not of the Poor for the year last past as have obtruded it on the House. If aforesaid, it shall be lawful for such he had any reason to believe that Justices, in that case, to allow of such any Member of the Committee apexcess only as shall be equal to such pointed some years ago to inquire into increase of the County Rates.
the state of the Poor Laws, and whose 7. And be it further enacted, That Report contained so much valuable init shall not be lawful for any Church formation on the subject--if any Memwarden, Overseer, or Guardian of the ber of that Committee had shewn any Poor, or any other person having au- disposition to act upon the suggestions thority to administer relief to the contained in the Report, he (Mr. Poor, to allow or give, or for any Jus- Scarlett) would have altogether abtice of the Peace to order, any relief stained from the subject. The subject to any male person whatsoever, being of the Poor Laws had for many years single and unmarried at the
occupied his attention. The measure for himself or any part of his family, which he proposed was not the result unless such poor person shall be ac- of hasty consideration, nor the effect tually, at the time of asking such re- of any deliberation of his since the lief, by reason of age, sickness, or Report of the Committee had been bodily infirmity, unable to obtain his published. He had not an opportunity livelihood, and to support his family of seeing the valuable information by work.
which they had imparted on the sub'S. And be it further enacted, Thatject until after he had proposed his from and after the it shall not be Bill; it was, however, a matter of lawful for any Justice of Peace, or great satisfaction to him to find that other persons, to remove, or cause to the views which he had taken of the be removed, any poor person or per- question were supported by the Comsons, against the will of such person or mittee. The great evil which resulted persons, from any parisb, township, or from the Poor Laws was, that an unplace, to any other, by reason of limited provision was settled for the such person or persons being chargeable poor [hear, hear !]. The effect of that to such parish, township, or place, or unlimited provision for the poor, to being unable to maintain him or them- reason on it a priori, was, that it selves. or under colour of such person operated as a premium on poverty or persons being settled in any other
[hear !]. The House would not be at parish, towusbip, or place, any law or a loss to see that it would necessarily statute to tbe contrary notwithstanding: create idleness, licentiousness, and Provided always, That nothing in this
immorality (hear, hear!). It was the Aet shall in anywise be deemed to
condition of human nature to labour ; alter any law now in force for the pu
nothing could be more unfortunate to nishment of vagrants.
a country than a system of law which
disconnected the ideas of labour and No. II.-Mr. SCARLETT rose and
profit ; yet such was the immediate said, that as the House seemed dis effect of the Poor Laws, they gave reposed that he should then state the Ifuge to indolence, they operated so as grounds of the Bill which he intended to remove inconveniences which should to introduce to amend the Poor Laws, ļalways be allowed to fotlow vice : he would do so as shortly as he could. they degraded the character of the He was aware of the great magnitude man who received relief under them, of the subject. No subject, indeed, because they lowered him in his own could call for more deliberate consi- lestimation. They certainly had the deration. Any measure on a subject tendency to involve in their fatal so important, was certainly deserving circle the whole population of the the support of a liberal and enlight
country. The House had but too ened Government, and he was not
ne was not much reason to fear that this evil without apprehension in bringing for. I would go on rapidly increasing ; the time would come, it was fast approach- | Poor. The Honourable and Learned ing, when parishes would be found Gentleman next read an extract from not sufficient to support their popula-a Report of a Committee of the House tion. Indeed, at the present moment, of Lords, on the state of the parish of there were parishes in England where Namptwich, in Cheshire. In the year the land was not worth more, after ! 1816 the parish officers addressed a paying parish rates, than the price of public letter to the inhabitants, in the labour expended on it. He would which they stated that the increase of now proceed to state the result of the resident paupers from 1781 to 1815 inquiries which he had made, and first was from 50 to 90. The increase of as to the effect of those laws on the out paupers for the same period was feelings of the people. The relief was in the same proportion. In 1781 there scarcely considered in the light of were six bastard children charged on charity, there was nothing of grace the parish. In 1815 they increased to about it; it was bestowed without | 37. Yet the price of corn was nearly compassion, and received without the same at both periods, and wages gratitude. (hear, hear !) There was considerrbly higher. The House, he another consideration which was pa-| was satisfied, would agree with him in ramount to all others, namely, it dis- thinking, that a dependence on parosolved between the poor and the rich- chial relief caused a diminution of inthose ties which had formerly bound dividual exertion, an inattention to together the different orders of so-economy, and a relaxation of morals. ciety; there was no longer gratitude It was remarked, that in proportion to on the one hand, or real charity on the liberality of the parish was the inthe other; the poor received without crease of paupers, the increase of thanks what they were entitled to re- vice and dissipation. - Parochial aid ceive, and the rich gave without com- extended to persons supposed not passion what they were compelled to able to find employment, was found to bestow. On looking to the result of be attended with consequences most the law, the House would find that the injurious, most destructive of the increase of the poor-rates was so ra- | best habits and the moral character of pid, that unless some check was given the people. It took away the necesto them, they must ultimately, and sity of labouring-men to indulge in that at no very distant period, absorb idleness became paupers. Thus the all the landed property of the coun- feelings of the people were gradually try. By the Report of the Committee blunted, and the labouring class, foron the Table of the House, he found merly considered with so much justice that in the years 1748, 1749, and 1750, the very strength and pride of the the average for the three years a- State, were in danger of becoming a mounted to 689,97 11. - In 26 years disgrace and a burthen. The evil was after, the poor rates increased to one of the most alarming kind-an. 1,530,8041. ; in 1783, they increased to evil which Parliament would be anx2,437,0001. ; in 1803, they increased to ious to remove, unless in removing it 4,267,9631.; in 1813, they increased to the country should be exposed to still 6,129,0001. Thus during the period greater danger. The evil consisted in he had stated, the Poor Rates increased an unlimited provision for the poor ; half a million for the first 13 years, the obvious remedy was to limit that half a million for the next seven years, provision. The first measure, thereone million for the seven succeeding fore, which he would wish to submit years, and one million for the five sub to the House, was to declare a maxisequent years. In 1815, the last year mum; the rates of the last year, included in the Report of the Commit- though not the highest, were nearly tee, the amount of the Poor Rates was so; and it was perhaps the best pe6,129,8311. It was an important fact riod to select, because the nominal that both in peace and in war, the Poor value of money had more nearly apRates went on progressively increas-proached its real value than in the ing, and if some measure were not a- preceding years.—He would there. -dopted to stop the evil, it was but too fore propose to fix as a maximum, the much to be apprehended that it wuld rates of the year ending the 25th of go on increasing, until at length no March, 1821, and accordingly to demaintenance would be left for the clare it to be unlawful to pay any