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other, we shall not at this time enter, being quite ready to admit that, upon abstract principles, such an interference on the part of the legislature is to be deprecated, although in a highly taxed and over-legislated country, the application of those principles becomes a matter of no small perplexity. As to any improvement in the state of things that might arise from an enbaucement of the value of money, that would in all probability be defeated, so far as regards the labouring classes, by the existing practice of mixing relief with wages, and at all events would slowly and partially benefit the existing population. The new • plan' proposed by the present Writer, bas for its object to reduce the supply of labour, and we shall lay it before our readers in bis own words.
• Having, in the first place, determined how long the period of mar. riage ought to be deferred, in order to reduce the supply of labour to the desired extent, and to raise wages to their due level with the cost of subsistence-we must endeavour to find motives sufficiently powerful to induce the labourer to make such a sacrifice of his incli. nations; and in the mean time we must continue to provide for his necessities, until the enhanced price of labour enable him to dispense with extraneous support. With regard to the age of marriage, I should estimate that a delay of two years would in due time effectually raise wages as high as the warmest friend of the Poor could desire. For within two years, each marriage, on an average, produces one birth; and as the whole average number of births which a marriage yields is only four, it follows that an additional two years passed in celibacy by every couple would reduce the whole number of births one fourth, and of course ultimately diminish the population in like proportion. It remains then to contrive means for persuading the Poor to defer the time of their marriage each two years. But before considering what inducements may best move them to this end, it may be proper to observe, that some little difficulty arises in ascertaining whether the marriage of any particular couple is really deferred by prudential considerations or not, inasmuch as it depends on the secret inclinations of the parties, of which it is difficult to obtain
ару visible indication. Thus if we were to offer a reward to all who put off their marriage to a certain age, many would receive the reward who did not deserve it, because they might not have married earlier had no reward been offered; and on the contrary some might be deprived of the reward to whom it was justly due, inasmuch as they may have formed attachments while very young. It seems better, therefore, to measure the prudence of a match by the sum of money saved before marriage, rather than by the time of life at which it takes place.
Suppose then we ascertain, by careful inquiry and observation, how much ought to be required from an agricultural labourer, in order to compel him to defer marrying two years. Something more than the amount of two years' savings would probably be necessary for this purpose, because it is likely that a young man may begin to lay by part of his earnings, before he has absolutely determined on marry
ing. It is very difficult, or rather impossible, at present, to say what sum might adequately answer the intended purpose ; but the point would soon be determined by a little attention, with a few trials. If I were to hazard a conjecture, I should apprehend that fifty pouods might form a proper medium. Suppose then that on a labourer's depositing this sum, (certified to be the produce of his own industry,) in a Savings' Bank, at the time of his marriage, or previous to that event, we grant him certain advantages, such as on the whole may afford him most gratification at the smallest expense. This might be done either by making a certain addition in money to the deposit or by the promise of certain future allowances to his widow and children, if he should leave any at his death;-or by presenting him with a cow, and permitting him to rent three or four acres of land on reasonable terms ;-or by allowing him the use of a cottage and garden for life, rent free ;-or in any other way that may appear most eligible; the fifty pounds still remaining his property, and at his own disposal. Or if it should be thought best to strike at once at the root of the evils of the Parochial system, the fifty pounds might be paid into the hands of commissioners appointed for that purpose, they engaging in return to make certain stipulated allowances to the labourer, equal to, or rather exceeding those at present made by parishes, in lieu of all parochial relief: these allowances, being then the property of the Poor, acquired by equitable purchase, (though indeed at a price far below their real value) would not tend to abridge their pride of independence, nor would they produce those injurious moral effects which arise from the uncertain measure of parochial relief. The commissioners should be chosen by a majority of the proprietors of real property in each parish, and should have power to demand, from time to time, of the overseers of the poor, a certain proportion, (suppose two thirds) of the allowances granted to the depositors. Perhaps, however, the cow would be found the most attractive ; for visible and tangible objects act with far the greatest force on rude and uncultivated minds. Mr. Malthus has remarked how “ fascinating" the vision" of such an animal is to a labouring man.-It would be a standing and walking monument of good conduct;-something to rouse the ambition of all the young men, and excite the admiration of all the young women in the parish, whenever they happened to pass by. It matters not, however, which of these modifications of the plan be aclopted, except in so far as one may, prove more easy of execution, or more operative on the minds of the labouring classes than another. The principle is the same in them all It is, by inducing the Poor to save before marriage, to compel them indirectly to defer the period of its celebration. To gain time is the chief end in view; the money saved forms only an incidental advantage. The principle of the measure must not therefore be confounded with that of a Savings Bank, or a Friendly Society. In those institutions a labourer deposits his savings either before marriage, or after, as he pleases; they have therefore no tendency to prolong the time of celibacy, to check population, or to raise wages, except in so far as they tend generally to encourage habits of prudence and forethought, and these habits may indirectly lead to
increased caution in contracting matrimonial engagements. I am not disposed to deny or underrate these advantages; but it is needless to say that the preceding scheme holds out inducements far more powerful, and more direct, for delaying the period of marriage. By placing before the eyes of the young unmarried labourer a certain, moderate, and defined object of attainment, we should animate him to the exertion of bis utmost industry and selfdenial. The goal would be always distinctly in view: and he would be disposed to listen to the voice of prudence, when he could calcu. late precisely the extent of the sacrifice it required of him. It would of course be proper to provide that a child born before marriage should debar the parties from the henefit of the plan ; otherwise we should run a risk of injuring morals, without effecting the object we have in view. But I entertain not the slightest doubt thal such an arrangement would lessen, instead of increasing, the number of illegitimate births. A habit of looking to future consequences, once thoroughly inplanted in the minds of the Poor, would render the breach of chastity as uncommon among women of the lower, as among those of the middle classes of society. And so far from early marriages proving a safeguard of virtue, universal experience shews that in those countries where matrimonial connexions are earliest formed, the greatest depravity of morals prevails. pp. 94, 95.
With regard to Savings Banks, Mr. Barton is quite aware of their useful operation, but he denies that they are adequate to counteract the spread of Pauperism. Hlow,' he asks, are the
labouring poor to save, when their utmost industry and eco' nomy are only just sufficient to supply them with the neces.saries of life?' The few agricultural labourers who have it in their power to save a part of their earnings, do it, be affirms, with no view of rendering themselves independent of parochial aid, but for the purpose of securing to themselves a few additional conforts over and above what they derive from that
For proof of this lie appeals to the managers of Savings Banks.
I ask them whether, out of the small number of labourers in husbandry, who become depositors, many do not express an anxious wish that their wealth should be kept secret from the world, lest they should be deprived on that account of the allowances enjoyed by their neighbours?' I have myself been Acting Trustee of a Savings Bank more than seven years, and I never met with a single instance of a labourer whose object in saving was to render himself independent of parish relief
The principle of Mr. Barton's plan isexcellent, fiiasmuch as it holds out'a bounty on forbearance' instead of 'a penalty on • imprudence.' Punishinent,' he justly remarks, where the • offender is unconscious of any fault, degenerates from moral • retribution into simple hostility. Yet most of the suggestions of political writers, which have had for their object to check tbe tide
of population, have been of this character. He is right, too, in stating that a dread of future consequences is not found to be very influential on any but cultivated minds. Few rogues are deterred from the commission of crime by the fear of the gallows, while the infinitely smaller chance of a capital prize in the State Lottery, acting directly on the imagination, leads thousands every day to throw away their money in the vain hope of obtaining wealth. As an illustration of the superior force of a stimulus applied to the hopes instead of the brute fears of the lower classes, we shall mention a very singular fact which occurred in one of the above-named ten agricultural counties. There were in the workhouse of Abbot's Langley, in the county of Herts, a blind man, and a woman who had lost an arm : the man was between forty and fifty, the woman about ten years younger. Whether it arose from their fellowship in suffering, or from some other mysterious cause of sympathy, so it was, that these two individuals fell in love with each other, or at least were induced to strike the mutual bargain of matriinony. Theirs was not an early marriage, assuredly, but Mr. Malthus would have termed it a most improvident one, although it did not threaten to add very alarıningly to the excess of our population. The resolution, however, which the worthy pair adopted, was far more remarkable than their venturing upon marriage : it was no other than to leave the workhouse, and to sally forth, with two eyes and three arms between them, to begin the world afresh. Having procured a dovkey, they set up as itinerant carriers and factors to the villages within a given circuit, and it was their practice to attend all the neighbouring markets for the purpose of executing the errauds with which they were entrusted. The man's blindness and honesty procured him a sufficient share of patronage from the farmers and gentry, to answer his purpose, wbile bis wife, by whom, like his betters, he was content to be led, contrived, with her one arm, by the belp of the mutilated member, to do her part as a needle-woman; nor must the donkey be denied his share of praise for the important service le rendered as the third in this interesting trio. In this manner our heroic pair of ci-devant paupers not only succeeded in rescuing themselves from the dreary asylum of the workhouse, but obtained a comfortable and independent maintenance. For several years they carried on their trade; for how many, our informant could not state, as he subsequently removed from the neighbourhood. Had Mr. Wordsworth been resident at Abbot's Langley, the old man, and his wife, and his donkey, would infallibly have been immortalized. As it is, this brief record is likely to form their only memorial. Such a fact, even though it were a solitary instance, may well be admitted as a proof of the greater exertions which the poor are likely to make with a Vol. XIV. N.S.
definite object of attainment before them, than with only the prudential check of contingent evil.
Mr. Barton's plan, under some modification or other, would certainly seem to deserve a trial: it is at least free from the objections which lie against most of the proposed remedies. To be effective, however, it must be pursued in concurrence with other measures to wbich we have already adverted, - with a complete reform in the prevailing practice of mising up parish allowance with wages, with an abandonment of the fiscal policy wbicb perpetuates the state lottery and multiplies the ale-houses, and with a watchful attention to the details of parochial administration. The state of our commerce and our manufactures is, however, too intimately connected with that of our agricultural population, to admit of our hoping for any very decided improvement, till the wages of manufacturing labour sball bave again risen to the level of the means of subsistence, and the farmer shall have to contribute to the support of only the agricultural poor. "To those who deem the virtue and happiness of the people the only object worthy of a Statesman's or a • Patriot's concern, not one word,' says the present Writer,
needs be said on the desirableness of raising the labourer from misery and humiliation, by equalizing the price of labour with the expense of subsistence.'
• In thus ameliorating the condition of the industrious part of the community, we should not only prevent much immediate suffering, but a foundation would be laid for higher and more lasting benefits. In instilling into their hearts the important lesson, that self-denial is the road to enjoyment; in awakening their faculties from the torpor of indolent despair; in quickening their sensibilities into healthful activity; the minds of the poor would be prepared for receiving those deep and solemn impressions of religious truth, which can no more be implanted in minds stunted and enfeebled by the continual pressure of want, rendered callous by the degradations of pauperism, than the blossoms of India can expand in the wastes of Lapland. When just raised above servile poverty, the condition of the labourer is, perhaps, of all others, best calculated for moral and religious improvement; because removed from the influence of those innumerable temptations of idleness and vanity, which form the principal sources of folly and vice in the higher classes of society. These are " the poor of this world,” by whom, it is declared, the blessings of the gospel are most readily embraced, Far otherwise is the case with those unhappy beings, in whom all elevated principle, all gentle affections, have been crushed by the rude grasp of abject and dependent wretchedness. Hopeless of breaking the spell that binds them to the ground, they drive away by force every intruding thought of the future, and abandon themselves with brutal unthinkingness to the gratifications of the moment. Not only are their apprehensions too gross to conceive that fine sympathy with moral excellence, which is the foun