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for their own as if they were depending upon others. The attempt to keep down the price of labour, by reserving a fund for those who have the greatest calls, appears practicable at first sight; but, in reality, has invariably the effect of increasing those calls beyond the capability of the fund to answer, and therefore the price of labour is raised instead of being reduced. To tax- unmarried labourers for the benefit of the married soon increases marriages, so as to make the tax insufficient ; and the more it is raised, the greater is the insufficiency, and consequently greater the demand upon some other fund.

The mind must ever be at work, and if legitimate exercise is rendered unnecessary, it will, as a rule, take an opposite direction, " to vice industrious, but to nobler deeds timorous and slothful,”—which is as accurate a description of pauperism as can possibly be given. To the welfare of beings capable of thought it is indispensable that the present should be regulated with a view to the future. Undoubtedly it is the general opinion, that the labouring classes, as a body, are not capable of taking care of themselves. If they are not, they cannot be capable of comprehending the dictates of religion ; for who can possibly be able to provide for a future life, who is not able to understand the duties of this? But to what class was Christianity first and principally addressed ? For whom are its precepts peculiarly adapted ? The Poor Laws indeed say to the labourer, You need not be provident; you need take no thought either for yourselves or your children. But what does Christianity say ? St. Paul, speaking not of the rich but of the poor, declares, “ If any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” Immediately after, he states to whom the voluntary contributions of the charitable ought to be distributed. 6. Let not a widow be taken into the number under three score years old, well reputed of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work." Then follow these words,—“But the younger widows, refuse; they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busy bodies, speaking things which they ought not." Whoever is conversant with pauperism will recognise in this last passage a very faithful description of it.

So far as morals alone are concerned, the cost of labour to the state will be low in proportion as those who perform it possess health, strength, industry, skill, honesty, and prudence; those qualifications being imparted at the cheapest price, whatever that price may be. Therefore the nominal cost differs greatly from the real, and labour may sometimes perchance be cheaper at 20s. a week than at 7s.* The direct wages of labour are only a part of the real cost, the difference being divided in various proportions between the employer and the public. All the expenses arising out of the diseases of the labouring classes and from their education, beyond what they pay themselves, all that is given them in charity, all the expenses of guarding against, prosecuting, and punishing their crimes, all losses from their ignorance and dishonesty, and the poor's rates, so far as they are appropriated to the expenses of pauperism, are to be added to their wages to make up the cost of labour to the community. Enormous as the amount of these sums must annually be, and the greater part of which might be saved, I believe it is not equal to the amount to be expected from the improvement of property that would soon take place if the habits of the labouring classes were raised as they might be.

There is a certain price for everything, and any attempt

* Arthur Young has somewhere said, that he should prefer an Essex labourer at half-a-crown a day to a Tipperary man at fourpence.


to force it below produces a contrary effect, though it may cause a division of the payment. Individuals may contrive to lower wages, and may throw the difference, with the increased cost of labour, upon the public—the state may inadequately remunerate those it employs, and thereby keep down the amount of taxation ; but the means of paying the taxation will be inevitably diminished in a greater proportion. It is in the nature of things that pauperised labourers should be dearer than independent ones, and that public servants inadequately paid should be either unequal to their duties, or negligent or corrupt in the discharge of them. It is beyond a doubt that an armed force raised by conscription or impressment, by ballot or by the seductions of enlistment, costs a nation more than the necessary price, though it may cost the government less. The general rule for obtaining labour, of whatsoever kind, at the cheapest rate, seems to be, first, to render the service as agreeable and respectable as its duties will permit, and then to offer in open market the lowest direct remuneration which will induce the best qualified spontaneously to engage themselves, and willingly to continue. I believe, if the subject were closely pursued, it would appear, that by rendering the various offices of labour as little irksome as may be practicable, and by approximating by all possible means the direct wages of labour to the cost of labour, pauperism and crime might be very considerably reduced; and that, notwithstanding the general opinion to the contrary, even under present circumstances the cost of labour, taking quantity and quality together, is less in England, owing to its superior advancement, than in any other country in the world. The same union of activity and perseverance, the same manly discipline, the same noiseless efficiency, that distinguish the best English soldiers and sailors, are to be found in the best classes of English workmen; and these are points of comparison much more to be depended upon than the fallacious ones of daily wages, the price of bread, or the

amount of taxation. The hope of an immediate and adequate reward, and the certainty of the secure enjoyment of it, are indispensably necessary to obtain labour at the lowest price, and however high that price may be, still it is the lowest possible. By a law of nature the slave is the dearest of labourers, and the man whose heart is in his work the cheapest-nay, even the brute who is going home, in the hope of eating his corn in comfort, is able to accomplish more than by any urging that can be inflicted upon him. Heart, kept constant by prudence, constitutes the perfection of a labourer.

The cost of labour is divisible into two parts; the necessary and unnecessary. The first consists of direct and indirect wages; the second of the expenses of ignorance, vice, and improvidence. As science and wealth are diffused, the effects of ignorance become more injurious, and the temptations to vice and improvidence greater. But for the pains that have been partially taken to enlighten the working classes, it is impossible that the principal manufacturing towns and districts could have reached their present state of prosperity. The degree of ignorance which prevailed thirty years ago would not have permitted such collections of numbers amid such a diffusion of riches. Improvidence and disorder would long since have gained an overwhelming ascendency; and they remain to their present extent chiefly because knowledge has not made an equal progress with wealth. In estimating the effects of the diffusion of education, it is not a comparison of the relative quantity of disorder formerly with that which exists now,

but with that which would exist now if there had been no such diffusion. If the town of Manchester, for instance, sixty years ago contained 40,000 inhabitants, and now contains 160,000, and if the quantity of disorder were even more than fourfold, yet it would not be reasonable to say the spread of knowledge was the cause. The true account most probably would be that but for the spread of knowledge, the present wealthy population could not hold together at all.


Ignorant people conduct themselves towards any new institution, as cows in a field towards a recently-erected rubbingpost. First they are suspicious and alarmed, and stare at a distance; by degrees they approach, and make their awkward attack; and lastly, they quietly put it to its use.

Dryden says of Virgil, “ he dexterously managed both prince and people, so as to displease neither, and to do good to both; which is the part of a wise and an honest man, and proves that it is possible for a courtier not to be a knave.” If

you wish to be happy, have a small house and a large balance at your banker's; if you wish to be unhappy, adopt the opposite plan.

But this rule is to be taken with reference to means. The principle applies, but not the degree, to the man of twenty thousand, and the man of two hundred a-year. To be overhoused and underbalanced is an evil in all conditions, and disturbs both sound sleep and good digestion.

There is no need of painful toil to those who begin prudently, and seek to supply none but real wants; wholesome labour is sufficient.

Nothing has conduced to unsettle the different classes in this country more than the attempts to settle them by family settlements, marriage settlements, and parish settlements. Lawyers thrive by them, but nobody else. I purpose to take occasion hereafter to examine into the nature and effects of these contrivances.

Published also monthly with the Periodicals, stitched in a wrapper.



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