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like this, a compulsory provision for the maintenance of those who are unable to maintain themselves, is not only a most valuable, but an indispensable institution. Yet it is plain that such provision being independent of their own industry and thrift, will in some degree detract from that sense of selfreliance on which the well-being of every man must always mainly depend. And it is farther plain, that if you make the provision equal and indiscriminate-if you place the industrious and the lazy, the frugal and the thriftless, on the same footing, you can hardly fail to weaken some of the most powerful motives to good conduct in the virtuous part of the community, and to strengthen the vicious propensities in those that are bad. And hence it is, that much of the real effect of a compulsory provision for the poor depends on the mode in which it is administered. The law says that no man in England shall be allowed to suffer the extremity of want, and in so far it treats all classes alike. This equality does not, however, go for much. Her peculiar rewards still remain to industry. The labourer who has saved some little property by contributing to a savings bank or a friendly society, and who perhaps has acquired a cottage and garden, has nothing in common with a pauper. He is elevated by the consciousness that he has not neglected the opportunities afforded him of improving his condition; that he is not indebted for his subsistence to the grudging charity of others; and he enjoys a much larger share of comfort and respectability than those in higher situations will readily imagine. But those who have nothing but the poor-laws to fall back upon when their health fails, or they happen to be out of employment, are in a widely different situation. They are not left to die by the way-side, to be starved or frozen to death, and that is about all that is done for them. They are deprived of their liberty, shut up like felons in work-houses, and compelled to submit to the discipline and perform the tasks enforced in these establishments. Nothing, therefore, can be a greater error than to suppose that the labouring classes are placed, how different soever their characters and conduct,

through the operation of the poor-laws, nearly on the same level. And in point of fact, the poor have themselves the greatest interest in preventing any such equalization; for were it realized, good conduct, industry, and forethought would no longer enjoy that superiority to which they have an irresistible claim; and the external circumstances of the virtuous part of the community would be reduced to the low level of the vicious and the improvident. Imprisonment, hard labour, and inferior food are all that the law of England assigns to sloth, dissipation, and profligacy. And it is of the utmost importance that these vices should never fail to be accompanied with their proper punishment. To make work-houses comfortable, is to pervert them from their peculiar purpose. The more they are complained of, provided they be not unhealthy, the better. They should be places of refuge for the destitute, but with as little to recommend them as possible.

It is true that the best and most industrious individuals are subject to bad health-to all sorts of accidents, and that they may be compelled, without any fault of their own, to become claimants for public relief. And it may be asked, are these parties to be obliged to resort to work-houses, and to be subjected to the same treatment as the slothful and the disorderly? We answer, Certainly not. Such cannot be the case, unless the administration of the poor-laws be grossly defective. Industrious labourers, if overtaken by poverty, should, if practicable, be provided for at their own houses, or those of their relatives or friends. The work-house either is or should be appropriated to the use of a very different class, those whose destitution has been occasioned by their own misconduct, who are suspected of counterfeiting poverty, or whose laziness and disorderly habits prevent their being employed. "Sloth and improvidence dispose a man to live gratis (precariously) and ungratefully on the public stock, as an insignificant cypher, a sordid wretch, filching food out of the public granary, but yielding no compensation or benefit thereto." Persons of this description are the proper

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inmates of work-houses. The really deserving poor should never be sent to them, or, if ever, only in cases of emergency; and while there, a marked difference should be made in their treatment. If work-houses be conducted on any other principle, if they treat all who may be forced to resort to them in the same manner, without any regard to their previous character and conduct, they level in as far as possible all distinction between virtue and vice; and they cannot do this without adding to the misery they profess to relieve, and becoming formidable engines of demoralization.



Or all the means of providing for the permanent improvement of the poor hitherto suggested, few, if any, seem to promise to be so effectual as the establishment of a really useful system of public education. Much of the misery and crime which afflict and disgrace society have their sources in ignorance-in the ignorance of the poor with respect to the circumstances which really determine their condition. Those who have laboured to promote their education seem, generally speaking, to be satisfied, provided they succeed in making them able to read and write. But the education which stops at this point omits those parts that are really the most important. A knowledge of the arts of reading, writing, and arithmetic may, and indeed very often does, exist in company with an all but entire ignorance of those principles with respect to which it is most for the interest of the poor themselves, as well as the other portions of the community, that they should be well informed. To render education productive of all the utility that may be derived from it, the poor should, in addition to the elementary instruction now communicated to them, be made acquainted with the duties enjoined by


religion and morality; and with the circumstances which occasion that gradation of ranks and inequality of fortunes which are of the essence of society. And they should be impressed, from their earliest years, with a conviction of the important truth, which it has been the main object of this work to establish and illustrate, that they are in great measure the arbiters of their own fortune-that what others can do for them is but trifling compared with what they can do for themselves—and that the most liberal government, and the best institutions, cannot shield them from poverty and misery, without the exercise of a reasonable degree of fore thought and good conduct on their part. It is a proverbial expression, that man is the creature of habit; and no education can be good for much in which the peculiar and powerful influence of different habits and modes of acting over the happiness and comfort of individuals is not traced and exhibited in the clearest light, and which does not show how those productive of advantage may be most easily acquired, and those having a contrary effect most easily guarded against. The grand object in educating the lower classes should be to teach them to regulate their conduct with a view to their well-being, whatever may be their employments. The acquisition of scientific information, or even of the arts of reading or writing, though of the greatest importance, is subordinate and inferior to an acquaintance with the great art of “living well;" that is, of living so as to secure the greatest amount of comfort and respectability to individuals, under whatever circumstances they may be placed. That the ultimate effect of an education of this sort would be most advantageous, there can be little doubt. Neither the errors nor the vices of the poor are incurable. They investigate the practical questions which affect their immediate interests with the greatest sagacity and penetration, and do not fail to trace their remote consequences. And if education were made to embrace objects of real utility-if it were made a means of instructing the poor with respect to the circumstances which elevate and depress the rate of wages, and which improve and

deteriorate their individual condition, the presumption is, that numbers would endeavour to profit by it. The harvest of good education may be late, but in the end it can hardly fail to be luxuriant. And it will amply reward the efforts of those who are not discouraged, in their attempts to make it embrace such objects as we have specified, by the difficulties they may expect to encounter at the commencement, and during the progress of their labours.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has excellently observed, in reference to the diffusion of education, that-"Of all obstacles to improvement, ignorance is the most formidable, because the only true secret of assisting the poor is to make them agents in bettering their own condition, and to supply them, not with a temporary stimulus, but with a permanent energy. As fast as the standard of intelligence is raised, the poor become more and more able to co-operate in any plan proposed for their advantage, more likely to listen to any reasonable suggestion, more able to understand, and therefore more willing to pursue it. Hence it follows, that when gross ignorance is once removed, and right principles are introduced, a great advantage has been already gained against squalid poverty. Many avenues to an improved condition are opened to one whose faculties are enlarged and exercised; he sees his interest more clearly, he pursues it more steadily, he does not study immediate gratification at the expense of bitter and late repentance, or mortgage the labour of his future life without an adequate return. Indigence, therefore, will rarely be found. in company with good education.”

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It is not to be expected, nor perhaps to be wished, that the mass of the people should be profoundly learned. The great works, in which new principles are developed, can neither be read uor understood by them. But the results of these works, and the truths which they contain, may be embodied in elementary treatises, may be taught in schools, and made to circulate in workshops and hamlets. This has been done with the physical and mathematical sciences; but it has not hitherto

1 Records of the Creation, vol. ii. p. 298.

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