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So far as the classes above enumerated are concerned, no inconvenience would result from the immediate abolition of the Poor Laws. With respect to those who are really paupers, but who have become so from the certain anticipation of a provision from the parish, there may be reckoned, 1st, Those to whom property has at some period of their lives come, but who have wilfully run through it, in consequence of their habits having been previously formed according to the low standard of the Poor Laws; 2ndly, The numerous class who have had opportunities of accumulating, but who have wasted their means with a fixed determination eventually to have recourse to the parish ; 3dly, Those whose determined
habits have disgusted their friends, or made them lose opportunities of making some; 4thly, Those who have incapacitated themselves from labour by dissolute habits, contracted from a reliance on parochial assistance ; 5thly, Those (and a numerous class they are) who, from perverseness of temper, have wilfully brought themselves upon the parish ; 6thly, Those who married from a reliance on the rates ; 7thly, Hereditary paupers ;
in country places, especially where there are no great changes, it will often be found that the principal part of the poors' rates are paid to a few families, who have been in the habit of depending upon them from the remotest periods to which the accounts go back, and who think they have acquired as good a title to the parish fund as the land-owners have to their estates; lastly, Those who have been persuaded by other paupers to pauperize themselves. I have not enumerated these different classes from theoretical inference, but from practical observation ; and it is obvious, that so far as they are concerned, the Poor Laws might, without inconvenience, be made to cease with the next generation.
Amongst the various means of reducing pauperism, it is highly desirable that its true nature should become as generally understood as possible, in order that it may meet with
more discouragement than has hitherto been given to it. It is to be wished, that the magistrates would not so frequently inculcate the doctrine of reliance upon the overseer, in the various cases of distress and difficulty presented before themthat the affluent and humane would not incautiously encourage applications to the parish, and, on the plausible statements of the applicants, take part with them against those whose duty it is to be strict—that the employers of labourers would not, for the sake of a partial and temporary saving, assist in pauperizing their workmen, who are sure to repay them with idleness, dishonesty, and refractoriness; that political partizans would not deceive the labouring classes, by holding out to them that they are forced into a state of de. pendence by misrule and oppression; and lastly, that the prudent part of those classes would not stand aloof from sympathy or fear, but would heartily unite against the spirit of pauperism as the worst of all possible enemies to their nearest interests. There can be no humanity in the Poor Laws: if wages are not sufficient, they are only paying what is due in a degrading and cruel manner; if wages are sufficient, they are a provision held out beforehand to improvidence and all its desolating evils. Nothing can permanently better the condition of the working classes, but an increase of prudence. Any improvement in means would be wasted, or worse than wasted, unless there should be a corresponding improvement of habits. How could a reduction of taxation, or a diminution in the price of corn, permanently benefit those who become idle and profligate as the means of living become easy, or what better is a man in the end for being able to gain as much in four days as he gained in six, if he only works in proportion, or wastes his money as fast as he gets it? It is lamentable, but true, that to the improvident population of large towns, and to the pauperized labourers of most of the agricultural districts, any facilities for maintaining themselves, beyond drudging for the bare necessaries of life, only
make them work the less and multiply the faster. viding any resources for casualties or for old age, they have no idea ; and it is this state of things which makes it so generally believed, that the Poor Laws' system cannot be dispensed with. Those who hold this opinion do not look to a sufficiently high standard ; they see that improvidence is the present characteristic of the labouring classes, and that the improvident, as a body, will not labour unless compelled by necessity; therefore, it is concluded, that the bulk of mankind must be kept on the verge of necessity, or that the requisite labour will not be performed. But the most efficiently industrious are those who, having fixed their minds upon securing comfort and independence, are constantly intent on the means; and there is no reason in the nature of things, why the requisite habits should not be made as prevalent as the opposite ones are now.”
Published also monthly with the Periodicals, stitched in a wrapper.
IBOTSON AND PALMER, PRINTERS, SAVOY STREET, STRAND.
BY THOMAS WALKER, M. A.
TRINITY COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE,
BARRISTER AT LAW, AND ONE OF THE POLICE MAGISTRATES OF THE METROPOLIS.
PUBLISHED EVERY WEDNESDAY AT 12 O'CLOCK, BY H. RENSHAW,
356, STRAND, NEARLY OPPOSITE WELLINGTON STREET.
No. XVII.] WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 9, 1835. [PRICE 3d.
One of the greatest and most important modern changes in society is the present system of clubs. The facilities of living have been wonderfully increased by them in many ways, whilst the expense has been greatly diminished. For a few pounds a-year advantages are to be enjoyed, which no fortunes, except the most ample, can procure. I can best illustrate this by a particular instance. The only club I belong to is the Athenæum, which consists of twelve hundred members, amongst whom are to be reckoned a large proportion of the most eminent persons in the land in every line, civil, military, and ecclesiastical, peers spiritual and temporal, commoners, men of the learned professions, those connected with science, the arts, and commerce in all its principal branches, as well as the distinguished, who do not belong to any particular class. Many of these are to be met with every day, living with the Same freedom as in their own houses. For six guineas a-year
every member has the command of an excellent library, with maps; of the daily papers, English and foreign, the principal periodicals, and every material for writing, with attendance for whatever is wanted. The building is a sort of palace, and is kept with the same exactness and comfort as a private dwelling Every member is a master, without any of the trouble of a master. He can come when he pleases, and stay away as long as he pleases, without anything going wrong. He has the command of regular servants, without having to pay or to manage them. He can have whatever meal or refreshment he wants, at all hours, and served up with the cleanliness and comfort of his own home. He orders just what he pleases, having no interest to think of but his own. In short, it is impossible to suppose a greater degree of liberty in living. To men who reside in the country, and who come occasionally to town, a club is particularly advantageous. They have only to take a bed-room, and they have everything else they want in a more convenient way than by any other plan. Married men, whose families are absent, find the nearest resemblance to the facilities of home in the arrangenients of a club; and bachelors of moderate incomes, or simple habits, are gainers by such institutions in a degree beyond calculation. They live much cheaper, with more ease and freedom, in far better style, and with much greater advantages as to society, than formerly. Before the establishment of clubs, no money could procure many of the enjoyments, which are now within the reach of an inconie of three hundred a-year; and the difference between that part of men's lives when they are entering the world, heretofore and at present, is very remarkable. Neither the same facilities of living, nor the same opportunities of cultivating society, could have been commanded twenty years since, on any terms. In those days every mode of living for a young man upon the town, was attended with something irksome--expense on one hand, uncomfort on the other-confinement very much to the same limit