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religious danger from the bigoted spirit of "conversion, which characterizes their religion;-from the unfavourable sentiments "which they had nourished from their earli"est infancy, with respect to English Portest"ants; and from a peculiar species of domineering intolerance, which distinguishes the French from all other nations. "And yet these considerations did not deter " us from receiving them with all the warm charity of Christians, and the liberality of Englishmen;-exhibited not merely by the higher orders in the hour of plenty, but by "the poor and necessitous at a period of general scarcity."
"In looking to the welfare of the great "mass of Roman Catholics in Ireland, I mean "that useful body of men which in every
country must compose the most numerous "class of its inhabitants, it will be wise and "benevolent so to use the power which the "constitution has placed in us, as a part of a "Protestant legislature, as to do for them, "individually, all that (were the power in
"their hands) they would be wise in doing "for themselves. In this view it may
subject for our consideration, how far we " can better provide for the discharge of their
religious duties, and how far we may with
propriety assist them in that respect. We may inquire how far we can improve their "temporal condition, by supplying the means " and motives of industry, and by every ex"ertion of kindness, which can promote their "domestic comfort, improve their character, "and meliorate their condition: - And we may endeavour to make a more general
provision for the education of their children; "not interfering with their religious tenets, "but attending to their instruction,—to mak
ing them useful to themselves and to "the community, - and giving them the unequivocal advantage of religious and "moral habits."
19th Oct. 1807.
Outline of Measures proposed for the improvement of the Character and Condition of the English Poor.
In the Introductory Letter to this Volume, an attempt has been made, to develope the prin ciples to be adopted, in the formation and arrangement of any measures, for diminishing the present burthen of the poor; and for increasing their happiness and utility. To draw the outline of those measures will be the present object. It is conceived, that they may be included under seven heads.
1st, THE SUB-DIVISION OF COUNTIES INTO DISTRICT PETTY SESSIONS, HOLDING STATED MEETINGS, AND RECEIVING THE RETURNS OF THE OVERSEERS.
This made one of several excellent parts of Mr. Pitt's Bill; and whenever any regular system is to be adopted with respect to the * A
poor, periodical petty sessions exclusively for that object, must form an essential part of it. The districts should be settled by the quarter sessions; and may follow, in great measure, the arrangement of those already held, for appointment of overseers and surveyors, and for licensing alehouses. The time of the meetings should be monthly, on some fixed day of the week; and it would be convenient, that they should be near to the full moon. When more frequent meetings were wanted, as in cities and populous districts, they might be held by adjournment, or by special summons from the chairman. Some incidental expenses would attend the meeting; for which, it would be reasonable, the county, or the district, should pay. The sum, however, required for each meeting, would be so trifling as not to deserve consideration. The returns of the overseers should be monthly, and might be made to printed queries. These would supply a regular state of the poor throughout the kingdom; duplicates, or abstracts, of which might at any time be returned by the justice's clerk to some general office of reference, whenever it should be deemed useful to collect and digest this information.