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discontinue shooting or destroying any swallow, marten, swift, or other birds, which feed in flight: their humanity and forbearance towards this valuable and inoffensive part of the feathered creation, will serve to reduce the very noxious insects which annually infest the British islands.”
As you have inserted a remarkable story in your Magazine for May last,” I here inclose you another narrative of that kind, which undoubtedly comes as well authenticated as the testimony of an individual can render it. This memorandum was lately found among the papers of the Rev. Mr. Mores, late of Layton, in Essex, formerly of Queen's college, Oxford, (a gentleman of unquestionable veracity, and highly respected for his learning and abilities, who died in the year 1778.) It fell into the hands of his son, Edward Rowe Mores, Esq. who has authorised me to lay it before the public, by means of your Magazine. The MS. shall remain with you for some time, for the inspection of any gentleman who may wish to have the fullest conviction of the authenticity of so interesting a relation. The hand-writingt I believe you can testify, as you were well acquainted with the man.
“Mr. John Bonnell, was a Commoner of Queen's college; he was remarkable in his person and his gait, and had a particular manner of holding up his gown behind, so that to any one who had but once seen him he might be known by his back as easily as by his face.
“On Sunday, November 18, 1750, at noon, Mr. Ballard, who was then of Magdalen college, and myself, were talking together at #. door. I was then waiting for the sound of the trumpet, and suddenly Mr. Ballard, cried out,
Lord have mercy upon me, who is that coming out of your college I looked, and saw, as I supposed, Mr. Bonnell, aud replied, He is a gentleman of our house, and his name is Bonnell; he comes from Stanton Harcourt. My God! said Mr. Ballard, I never saw such a face in all my life. I answered slightly, His face is much the same as it always is; I think it is a little more inflamed and swelled than it is sometimes, perhaps he has buckled his band too tight; but I should not have observed it if you had not spoken. Well, said Mr. Ballard again, I never shall forget him as long as I live; and seemed to be much disconcerted and frightened. “This figure I saw without any emotion or suspicion; it came down the quadrangle, came out at the gate, and walked up the High-street; we followed it with our eyes till it came to Cat-street, where it was lost. The trumpet then sounded, and Mr. Ballard and I parted, and I went into the hall, and thought no more of Mr. Bonnell. “In the evening the prayers of the chapel were desired for one who was in a very sick and dangerous condition. When I came out of the chapel, I inquired of one of the scholars, James Harrison, in the hearing of several others who were standing before the kitchen fire, who, it was that was prayed for 2 and was answered, Mr. Bonnell, sen. Bonnell, sen, said I, with astonishment, what's the matter with him he was very well to-day, for I saw him go out to dinner. You are very much mistaken, answered the scholar, for he has not been out of his bed for some days. I then asserted more positively that I had seen him, and that a gentleman was with me who saw him too. “This came presently to the ears of Dr. Fothergill, who had been my tutor. After supper he took me aside, and questioned me about it, and said, he was very sorry I had mentioned the matter so publicly, for Mr. B. was dangerously ill. I replied, I was very sorry too, but I had done it innocently; and the next day Mr. B. died. “...inquiry was made of Mr. Ballard afterwards, who related the part which he was witness to in the same manner as I have now related it; adding, that I told him the gentleman was one Mr. Bonnell, and that he came from Stanton Harcourt.
LXXXVIII. Proposal for lending small Sums to the Industrious Poor.
BY inserting the following Proposal in vour nert Magazine g 9. p y o > you will probably further the interests of humanity, and will greatly oblige AN OLD CORRESPONDENT.
A proposal for lending small Sums of Money for a short Time, without Interest, to virtuous and Industrious Persons labouring under temporary Difficulties.
Various are the methods which humanity has suggested for the relief of poverty and distress, while too little attention has been paid to any plan for preventing those evils which so large a portion of mankind are born to suffer. It is certain that the unhappy transition from competence to indigence is commonly occasioned by a temporary difficulty, which might be removed by a small assistance from the hand of the benevolent, and jo. consequent misery avoided. The labourer or manufacturer, whose daily industry is barely sufficient to support a numerous fo, is perhaps laid on the bed of sickness, or, without any misconduct, for a short time may happen to be unemployed; his wife and children immediately want bread; and shortly after comes an unfeeling landlord, who sells the little furniture, and turns out the poor wretches either to starve or become a burthen to the parish. This fixes the destiny of the unfortunate family for the whole remainder of life; for though there is a laudable pride, even in the lowest individual, which makes him abhor the idea of being dependant on parish rates, and excites him to every exertion lest the dear little objects of his affection should be stigmatized by the badge of paupers; yet, when he finds the disgrace wholly unavoidable, and his name is once registered in the parochial records of the poor, he never strives to regain his independence, because he thinks his reputation irrecoverable.
Too often also it happens that, for a small debt, the poor man is shut up in prison great part of his life, and rendered useless to his family and the public; and, though the Society for liberating Persons confined for small Debts has been
WOL. III. k k
much and deservedly applauded, yet, if Charity should begin her god-like work a little earlier, and prevent those unfortunate men from being dragged from useful employments, and the arms of their lamenting families, much greater good would be done. This is evident on the slightest consideration; for, when the father is committed to prison, the children must be provided for by the parish, or . will become vagrants, and a pest to the public. The wife must share deeply in their calamity, and perhaps abandons herself to despair”; or, if her temper be lively, and her person agreeable, her distresses may dispose her to submit to the affluent seducer. The prisoner in the mean while forgets his habits of industry, and learns those vices which the illiterate indolent acquire in all situations, but particularly in that school of immorality, a gaol. Very seldom indeed it happens, that, after being discharged from confinement, he collects his scattered family, resumes his former calling, and recovers his credit as an honest and industrious man. The application of a little force may keep the wheels of industry going; but, if they are once suffered to stop, any attempt to set them in motion again is very rarel
successful. Now, could occasional relief be given to suc
a person while struggling with his adverse condition, he might not only continue to be the support of his family, but, in all probability, would soon be able to repay a small sum of money which might be lent him from a fund, if it should be instituted for such a beneficent purpose. And, as the basis of such an institution must entirely depend on a careful discrimination of character, the petitioners should come well recommended, by three or more respectable neighbours, for their honesty and industry, and as being persons who will probably be able to discharge the loan within a few months. Those who should abuse this charity, by refusing or o to return the money at the time proposed, to be excluded from all future assistance, and to be sued if their circumstances should make their conduct criminal. For the credit of human gratitude, it is to be hoped that few such men will be found; but, as there must be some debtors to this institution, whose misfortunes, by long con tinuance, will keep them insolvent, it will be necessary to have an annual subscription to support it. There are some benevolent persons, who are not rendered so giddy in the vortex of pleasure, nor so deafened by the clamour of politics, but they can still hear the cry of human distress, and are ready to give every possible succour. To such only is this Proposal addressed; and they are earnestly requested to give it a mature consideration, and not hastily dismiss it on account of some apparent objections. The proposer is sensible that great difficulties would attend the execution of this plan, but he does not think them insuperable; and surely the benefit to be derived from it to the virtuous and industrious poor is of such importance as would well justify an experiment how far it is practicable. The common objection will be, that few will be able and willin to repay the money they shall borrow from such funds. But, if a proper regard be paid to character, it is likely this will not be found true. But, even supposing this to be the case, certainly it is not a sufficient reason for rejecting this Proposal. For, should the greater part of the sums thus advanced be sunk, it must be allowed that charity can never be exercised in a more beneficial manner. The assistance we give the poor is generally by alms to those who either receive parish-pay, or live in a state of indolence and vagrancy, and whose impudence makes them intrude on and harass the benevolent. By such persons the money is usually misapplied to the purposes of intemperance, or unnecessary indulgence; or, at best, it affords but a short relief without productive and lasting benefit. For, much discretion and economy in the management of alms cannot be expected from those whose imprudence and extravagance have, perhaps, contributed to reduce them to their unhappy situation. But now, if the money so bestowed should be applied to extricate sober and diligent persons embarrassed by casual difficulties, the effect would be very different; for, we may lay it down as a rule, that, where there is no prospect but that of constant want, a temporary relief will be transient and ineffectual; but, if the want be only temporary, assistance will be of the most permanent and happy consequence. In this latter case we distribute the seeds of charity, which, by the care and cultivation of the receiver, will produce a plentiful harvest. We o a talent which will not be K k 2
* One melancholy instance of this, which occurred in the West of England about three months since, may be here ruentioned. A poor man, who supported his family by carryiug coals on a couple of small horses, was arrested for an inconsiderabie debt, incurred by an accidental misfortune. His wife sold his little stock, and even her scanty wardrobe, but unlu kily the anount was short of the debt and costs about two guineas; the debtor, therefore was pulled away by the iron grasp of bailiffs; and the poor wife, distracted at the scene of her husband's distress, and the shrieks of her children, immediately
destroyed herself! Whose heart does not burn with a desire of prevcuting suck calamities'