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relief for the present accumulating distresses.
mass of the labouring population. generally, in this part of the country, is miserable in the extreme. We You have heard a good deal said have, at different times, heard and about the hand-loom weavers and read much of the destitute condition of the power-loom weavers. Hitherto, the poor Irish; but if they now are in it has been, that the power-loom a more distressed condition than the weavers have been able to earn a great mass of the population in this little more than the hand-loom part of the country, they are in a weavers, and have been a little better dreadfully suffering state indeed. employed by their masters, because What makes the matter worse, too, of the reduced prices arising from is, that all hope of improvement using the power-loom, at which, in under the present system is fast dy-comparison with those masters who ing away. Some masters have, until employed the hand-loom weavers, now, been in some degree sanguine, they could afford to sell their goods. that the present would be but a tem- Now, however, such is the increased porary depression, and that in a short depression in the trade, that the time all would be well again. This power-loom masters are obliged, in feeling appears now pretty generally some instances, to suspend their to be giving way amongst those who works almost entirely; and, in most have, until now, been foolish enough instances, to reduce their time of to cling to it; and the gloominess of working to about three or four days despair is consequently fast suc- a week. A few of the masters, ceeding to the exhilaration of hope. however, having either less prudence, In this state of things, every body is or more extended means than the asking the questions, "What is to be others, yet run their works the full done?" "What is to become of us?" time: this, however, is not likely The newspapers in the neighbour-long to continue, as goods keep hood have all sorts of schemes- sinking in price, if sales are effected some recommending one thing, some at all, every market-day.
another, while a great portion of the There is, to be sure, in all this dis-
I am, most respectfully,
Now, in answer to the question, at the close of this letter, I have
to observe, that the Bill of STURGES BOURNE, about vestries, has of the military, is meant to be all the only altered the law, in order to
take some power from the poor, | of the law, in favour of the rich,
and give it to the rich; some of that power, which the whole body of poor-rate payers possess, in the management of the affairs of the parish. But, observe, that in in no law that has yet been passthe granting or withholding relief ed, any thing to take the power to a poor person, the whole body out of the hands of the Magisof the parishioners have not the trate. This is the security, and smallest power, even supposing the only security, for the poor. them to be unanimous. A Vestry Vestries may, in certain cases, may do certain things in the way control the Overseers; may reof raising the money, and as to strain them from giving relief; the manner of relieving the poor; but, after all, the Magistrate has but the Vestry has no power to the power of commanding the rerefuse relief. lief to be given; and, if it were STURGES BOURNE'S Bill alter-not for this power in the Magised the law as to voting at Vestries. trate, horrible, indeed, would be Before this law, every person who the situation of the poor: there paid towards the rates had a vote in the vestry, whether he paid little or much; STURGES BOURNE'S Bill introduced a principle, tending to establish an aristocracy of wealth. Now, if a man be rated at less than fifty pounds a year, he has only one vote; if rated at fifty pounds, he has two votes; and if rated at more than fifty, another vote for every twenty-five pounds of additional rating, until he comes to six votes; so that one man may have six votes, and another man only one vote. Nothing was ever more unjust than this; but, it is only one more of those stretches
would have been rebellion in
England long and long ago. The first thing for a poor person to do, is to go to the Overseer of the parish: if he refuse to relieve, or if he give inadequate relief, the poor person is to go to the Magistrate; that is to say, to any Magistrate in the district, or in the County, as the case may be. It` is the business of the Magistrate to summon the Overseer, to inquire into the circumstances, and to order relief, if necessary. But, suppose the Magistrate will not»do his duty. This is a very horrible supposition, and I hope, that few cases of the kind have ever
which stretches have, by degrees, brought the country into its present deplorable state.
But, there is here, and there is
occurred. I wish not to believe ing, for that they would not. In short, they knew very well, that they could not live in the country, unless there were the usual mode of relieving the poor.
that it ever can be necessary for
To me it seems the most astonishing thing in the world, that any man in England can talk about the people starving! When we all know, that every inch of land, every brick and tile in a Aye, to be sure, the poor-rates, house; that all is pledged by the here are the sure means of re-law, to prevent the people from lief; and how there can be any suffering from want. Every man difficulty, such as Mr. FITTON of common sense knows that the speaks of, it is beyond my capa- field, for instance, which he calls city to discover. This I know, his, is only his upon certain conthat, when lawyer SCARLETT had ditions; and that one of those his Bill before the House of Com- conditions is this; namely, that mons, which Bill 1 trod upon, and he shall continue to pay money to destroyed, just as we do serpent's the Overseer of the Poor, in oreggs; when that memorable off-der that the said Overseer may spring of the wisdom of lawyer take care that no person in the SCARLETT, favoured as it was by parish may suffer from want. CASTLEREAGH, was before the This is a condition attached to House, petitions were coming every man's tenure and every posting up from the farmers, be- man's land. What do people seeching the Honourable House mean, then, by saying, that there not to attempt to pass lawyer are starving Weavers, and starvScarlett's Bill, which Bill con- ing Spinners, and starving Latemplated putting an end to the bourers? How are there to be any poor-rates, to a very extensive de- starving people, as long as this law gree, at any rate. The farmers remains, and as long as there are were frightened out of their houses and land? and, if there They said, that if law- be any starving people in the yer SCARLETT got the law passed, country as long as this law is in. he must go and carry on the farm- existence, then the laws are set
at defiance, and we are living in ticular class of persons; a thing, a state of Tyranny: for Tyranny that no government ever did beis that state of things, in which fore, and a thing which no wise men are, when they are compelled government ever did, or ever will to obey those, who, themselves, do. But, the fact is, that, before set the law at defiance. a government can come to think Taking this view of the matter, of such miserable tricks as this, we see, at once, how monstrous it must be nearly "done up." It it is, for any Town or any County can have no firm and natural reto call upon the Government to sources to rely on. It is, like an grant, out of the general taxes, insolvent tradesman, driven to all money for affording that relief sorts of tricks; and its calculawhich ought to come out of the tions are not, how it shall collect Parochial Assessments. To men- taxes and how it shall pay its tion such a thing, to think of such way; but, how it shall get along, a thing, seems to say, that we with all the usual forms, and have come to that pass, that the with very little of the reality, of settled law of the land is no either receipts or payments. longer to be attended to. To pro- Those who talk of " 'governpose such a measure is not only ment grants" to relieve the people; impudent, but it is foolish in the those who talk thus, like a silly, extreme. It would be just as dull, pompous fellow of the name reasonable and as right for the of TAYLOR, who is editor of the government to take money out of Manchester Guardian, and who, the taxes to assist private persons, in his paper of the 1st of July last, or partnerships, whose affairs are is so obliging as to tell us, almost going wrong; and, monstrous as in so many words, that he “is a the thought of this is, PITT ac- gentleman and a man of honour"; tually did it in the case of BOYD this fellow, ho was WooD's neand BENFIELD. Indeed, it was gotiator with COLQUITT and in part, done in 1793 and 1811, RIE, and who knew, by instinct, in the Exchequer Bill Loans to that Wood had never said what merchants and manufacturers. hundreds of persons can swear This was not an absolute gift; they heard him say; those who, there was repayment; but, it was like this great conceited ass, talk an employment of the public about "a government grant" being wealth for the benefit of a par-" preferable to throwing the whole
"of the population upon the poor-"we consider the subject, the "rates, and breaking down their "more decidedly we are con"independence"; those who, like "vinced that a contribution from this great, sappy-headed fellow," the public funds is less objectalk thus, with all the unconcern “tionable than the system of asimaginable; these people never" sessments in aid would be found, stop to think of the consequence "if carried to an extent sufficient of the attempt to put their advice" to meet the difficulty." into execution. This Taylor says, Oh! "the more WE consider"! "There have, during the past A pretty fellow to "consider"! "week, been various observations And thus, without more ceremony, "in the London papers respect- to settle the matter, that a grant "ing the call which has been from the general taxes is better, "made on government, to come is "less objectionable than the "forward with a grant of public "system of assessments in aid.” "money for the relief of the des- There is a fellow for you! There titute poor in the manufacturing is a conceited ass! He thinks "districts; and it seems to be al- that he has found out something "most generally admitted, that better, or less bad, than the poor"unless commercial affairs very rates, which have existed three "speedily and decidedly improve, hundred years! This fellow is a some such measure must be pretty "WE" to settle a matter adopted. The proposition, of like this; and to determine, that course, is not free from objec- the safe, sure, efficient, and all❝tions; and its details would ob- pervading mode of relief is a "viously require attentive consi- bad mode. Here we have a pretty "deration and great care, both in fair specimen of the capacity and "order to secure the most effec- the character of the "best public "tive and economical adminis-"instructor." To the follies, the "tration of the fund, and to pre- lies, the slanders, and the praises, "vent its being applied as the put forth by this "Instructor," "poor-rates have been in some of the country owes no small part of "the agricultural counties; and its present miseries. It is the "as there is no little danger of taxes, and the paper-money, and their being in this manufacturing the consequent Corn Bills that "one, in part payment of the produce the mischief; but you "wages of labour. But the more never hear the asses of the "In