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common to these institutions: but they have been greatly enhanced in incorporated districts, by a principle generally adopted in them;—that the contribution from each parish in the district, shall be invariably fixed, according to its rate or proportion, at the first establishment :—a circumstance, which, while it removes all interest of the parish officers and others, in the improvement of their own poor, or in their instruction or occupation, frequently commits to this parish jail those, whose families, with the supply of a little work, or with some brief and limited assistance, might have continued to thrive and be happy, in their own habitations.

The cottager, if once settled in the workhouse, feels a privation of all Their effects motive to industry and activity. ger. -Independence, domestic habits, the love of

on the cotta

* The reader is requested to refer to the Account of Sir Richard Lloyd's Plan in No. XV. of Appendix to Volume IV. and to the Account of the Montgomery and Pool House of Industry, in the Report No. CX Vol. IV.

home, the power of being useful, and the hope of bettering his condition, are to him for ever lost and relinquished, from the hour that he has habituated his mind, to continue a resident among parish paupers. In PAUPERISM as in SLAVERY, the degradation of character deprives the individual of half his value; and it rarely occurs, that the inmate of the workhouse is ever restored to his native energy, and power of exertion.—The evil, however, does not stop with him and his family. Pauperism and mendicity are of the most infectious nature. The example of those, who have gradually reconciled themselves to the workhouse, too frequently affects the other industrious poor. They listen to the detail of the waste, the license, and the idleness, of the public establishment. They are led to compare it with their own hard fare, and hard labour; and the value of domestic comfort, and of personal independence, insensibly diminishes in their estimation. Labour is no longer sweetened by the society of a wife and children,—now become a burthen: and, when the mind is

thus prepared to desire admission among the parochial poor, the useful and industrious cottager becomes a dead weight, and a noxious burthen, to the community.

servations on

WORKHOUSES may be sometimes necessary in the management of the General Obpoor. There are certain helpless them. and insulated beings, to whom they prove an asylum: there are others, to whom they are adapted, as houses of correction. But, when they become the receptacle of youth, they destroy the hope of the succeeding generation ;—when, backed by necessity, they force the aged and reluctant cottager into their walls, they do flagrant injustice to the claims of past labour;—and when they intermix all the characters, which are objects of parochial relief or correction, they disseminate contagion, and irremediably spread through the country THE INFECTION OF


I proceed in the fourth place to consider

another mode, which has been proposed for

of Labour by

4th On fix- relieving the distresses of the poor: ing the price that of fixing the price of labour* that of bread. by parliamentary regulations, having a reference to the current price of bread.This has been a favourite idea of some very intelligent and benevolent men.-In order to ascertain its consequences, if practicable, let us refer to a very recent period of our domestic history. In the year 1780, the

* These proposals have becu always introduced by tables of the labourers earnings and expenses. Such tables may be of use in general calculations: but they must not be implicitly depended on. With regard to earnings, the slothful will never reach the calculated sum; and to the industrious, there will always occur some favourable circumstance, which will enable him to exceed it. In respect of expenses, the difference between a family that lives, as it is called, from hand to mouth, and one that has prudential habits and domestic resources, will be beyond all calculation. One of Lord Winchilsea's cottagers, who has a cow-pasture, a piggery, and a garden, will thrive and live better with the wages of eight shillings a week, than a hand-tomouth man will with three times the sum.—I mention this to shew that improvement of the habits and resources of the poor, will do them much more good, than increase of wages.

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price of a quarten loaf was six pence; and the labourer's wages were then, nine shillings a week. During the scarcity in 1800, the quarten loaf cost one shilling and nine pence. The proportionate wages, therefore, fixed by the price of bread, must then have been £1. 11s. 6d. per week, or five shillings and three pence a day.*At the same time, the labourer would have had no motive to diminish his consumption of wheat corn'; but would have been invited by a parliamentary bounty and national authority, to consume as much, as he would have done in times of plenty. The consequence of the unrestrained consumption of bread, must have been an augmentation of the price of corn; and, while the system was followed, a progressive increase of the price of labour. And this must have proceeded with an augmenting rapidity;-except so

* What I have here stated is an extraordinary, but I fear not an extreme case. Any measures, however, which may be adopted for regulating the price of labour by the price of bread, will be more or less liable to the objections here stated, in proportion as those measures may be more or less operative and efficient.

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