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wages as a chosen, regular, stationary person, who is always ready at hand, and whom the farmer has selected for his dexterity and character ?
Those persons who do not, and cannot employ labourers, have no kind of right to complain of the third or fourth part of the wages being paid by the rates; for if the farmers did not agree among themselves to take such occasional labourers, the whole of their support must be paid by the rates, instead of onethird. The order is, that the pauper shall be paid such a sum as will support himself and family; and if tbis agreement to take rourdsien was not entered into by the farmers, they must be paid, by the rates, the whole of the amount of the order, for doing nothing. If a circulating labourer, therefore, with three children, to whom the Justices would order 12s. per week, receives 8s. from his employer, and 4s. from the rates, the parish is not burdened by this system to the amount of 4s., but relieved to the amount of gs. A parish manufacture, conducted by overseers, is infinitely more burdensome to the rates, than any systein of roundsmen. There are undoubtedly a few instances to the contrary. Zenl and talents will cure the original defects of any system; but to suppose that average men can do what extraordinary men have done, is the cause of many silly projects and extravagant blunders. Mr Owen may give his whole heart and soul to the improvement of one of his
parochial parallelograms; but who is to succeed to Mr Owen's enthusiasm ? Before we have quite done with the subject of roundsmen, we cannot help noticing a strange assertion of Mr Nicol, that the low rate of wages paid by the master, is an injustice to the pauper-that he is cheated, forsooth, out of 8s. or 10s. per week by this arrangement. Nothing, however, can possibly be more absurd than such an allegation. The whole country is open to him. Can he gain more any where else? If not, this is the market price of his labour; and what right has he to complain? or how can he say he is defrauded ? A combination among farmers to lower the price of labour, would be impossible, if labour did not exist in much greater quantities than was wanted. All such things, whether labour, or worsted stockings, or broad cloth, are, of course, always regulated by the proportion between the supply and demand. Mr Nicol cites an instance of a parish in Suffolk, where the labourer receives sixpence from the fariners, and the rest is made up by the rates ; and for this he reprobates the conduct of the farmers. But why are they not to take labour as cheap as they can get it? Why are they not to avail themselves of the market price of this, as of any other commo
dity? The rates are a separate consideration : let them supply what is wanting; but the farmer is right to get his iron, his wood, and his labour, as cheap as he can. It would, we admit, come nearly to the same thing, if 1001. were paid in
wages rather than 251. in wages, and 751. by rate; but then, if the farmers were to agree to give wages above the market price, and sufficient for the support of the labourers without any rate, such an agreement could never be adhered to. The base and the crafty would make their labourers take less, and fling heavier rates upon those who adhered to the contract; whereas the agreement, founded upon giving as little as can be given, is pretty sure of being adhered to; and he who breaks it, lessens the rate to his neighbour, and does not increase it. The problem to be solved is this. If
you have ten or twenty labourers who say they can get no work, and you cannot dispute this, and the Poor-Laws remain, what better scheme can be devised, than that the farmers of the parish should employ them in their turns? —and what more absurd than to suppose that farmers so employing them should give one farthing more than the market price for their labour?
It is contended, that the statute of Elizabeth, rightly interpreted, only compels the overseer to assist the sick and old, and not to find labour for strong and healthy men.
This is true enough; and it would have been eminently useful to have attended to it a century past: But to find employment for all who apply, is now, by long use, become a practical part of the PoorLaws, and will require the same care and dexterity for its abolition as any other part of that pernicious system. It would not be altogether prudent suddenly to tell a million of stout men, with spades and hoes in their hands, that the 43. of Elizabeth had been misconstrued, and that no more employment would be found for them. It requires twenty or thirty years to state such truths to such numbers.
We think, then, that the diminution of the claims of settlement, and of the authority of Justices, coupled with the other subordinate improvements we have stated, will be the best steps for beginning the abolition of the Poor-Laws. When these have been taken, the description of persons entitled to relief may be narrowed by degrees. But let no man hope to get rid of these laws, even in the gentlest and wisest. method, without a great deal of misery, and some risk of tumult. If Mr Bourne thinks only. of avoiding risk, he will do nothing. Some risk must be incurred: But the secret is gradation : And the true reason for abolishing these laws is, not that they make the pich poor, but that they make the poor poorer.
Art. VI. Objections to Mr Brougham's Bill for Inquiring into
Abuses in Charitable Donations, with a Proposal for introducing a System into the Management of those Funds that shall prevent or detect future Abuses, and preserve the property from loss or diminution. By Francis CHARLES PARRY, Esq. X. M.
London, Anderson. 1819. WE
E stated, in our last Number, that some of the topics there
referred to, in relation to Publick Charities, demanded a more particular consideration; and we delayed, until another opportunity, giving any account of the very excellent Letter on Grammar Schools, which appeared in the Pamphleteer. It is proper that we should now supply the omission ;-and the
Tract by Mr Parry, which had not then reached us, affords an occasion of renewing the discussion, and of examining also his plans of reform. We shall begin with this examination, both because Mr Parry's publication stands at the head of the present article, and because it naturally precedes that of the Letter on Grammar Schools.
Mr Parry's • Objections' were published before the Ministers had brought in the last Bill, in which they adopted almost the whole of Mr Brougham's original measure; and his purpose is chiefly to show the inefficacy of that measure, and to extenuate, for he cannot wholly defend, the rejection of it in the Session 1818. As the plan has since been sanctioned by the Legislature without a dissentient voice, we might spare ourselves the trouble of minutely considering these objections, in so far as they only touch that plan: But they lead to the proposal of Mr Parry's own views of reform; and as these are not incompatible with the subsistence of the present Commission of Inquiry, we must enter somewhat more at large into his remarks upon
it. The first and principal objection urged by Mr Parry is, that the measure is one of inquiry only; that it applies no remedy to the evils detected, and affords no preventive against their recurrence. It gives us, he says, a mere account, upon oath, of the charities in the kingdom, and leaves them as it sound them; it satisfies curiosity, and nothing more; and he seriously doubts, whether, after the investigation has been completed, the subject may not lie dormant during another thirty years, as it did after the returns under Mr Gilbert's Act. He admits, however, that the measure of simple inquiry is an acceptable boon' to the country, because it may lead to the temporary correction of
some irregularities, preparatory to the expected approach of the Commissioners.
The next objection arises out of the former. Our author is apprehensive that the publick will grow weary of the protracted inquiry, and that a state of apathy towards the subject of Charities will succeed the present lively interest excited by it. • Though some little good may be effected by the preparation ..of a decent statement on the part of some trustees, to be sub• mitted to the Commissioners, yet there is nothing in the pro
posed measure which can, in the slightest degree, prevent the • immediate practice of any the grossest abuse as soon as the « Commissioners shall have closed their inquiry into any parti• cular charity. In this point of view, the inquiry will be a
mere palliative: The paroxysm may be subdued; but the dis• order is ready to break out with redoubled virulence on the “first opportunity: There is no security for the future; and if it • shall happen that any vicious administrators of charitable funds . may, by specious statements, elude the vigilance of the Com« missioners, they will have secured indemnity for the past, and « will calculate on license for the future.
He then speaks of the delay necessarily arising from the wide field of the Inquiry into all Charities. He reckons 50,000 as the lowest number of charitable donations that can be assigned; but he thinks they may probably amount to nearer 100,000; and he enumerates all the particulars of the proceedings which must in each case be instituted, in order to show (what indeed no man living can doubt) the impossibility of completing the Inquiry in two years, the time limited for the duration of the Act.
The last complaint of Mr Parry refers to the difficulty of having any effectual measure of reform and prevention carried into execution, while the Inquiry is pending. Indeed, he considers it to be out of the question. He argues, that to any application for such a measure, the answer would be irresistible-i Wait until the investigation is finished; because, if the plan were framed upon one Report of the Commissioners, the next Report might bring new cases to light, and render other measures necessary.'
Now, before proceeding to Mr Parry's own plan, let us examine a little the validity of these objections. That the Inquiry will extend beyond the time limited by the acts, no one can doubt. But is our author so ignorant of the subject, as to imagine that the statutory limitation was intended to be final, if the experience of two years should prove the measure to be advantageous ? Every such Inquiry, indeed almost all the most important amendments of our law, have been at first enacted for a short period, and adopted, as it were, experimentally. So it
was with the Grenville Act; more recently with the Scotch Jury Act; and so it was with the Commissions of Publick Accounts, and of Naval and Military Inquiry. The reasons are obvious. A new machinery is about to be erected; and, until it is put in motion, no man (except he be endowed with the happy powers of a Cartwright or an Hobhouse) can presume to foretel how all its parts will work. Besides, it is useful that a necessity should be imp.sed, of reconsidering both the principle, after we have had the lights of experience, and the minute details, many of which beforehand could not have been considered at all. But no one ever thought that the Legislature which first passed the bill for two years, either pledged itself to let it expire at the end of that period, whether the investigation should be completed or not; or gave any assurance, or even an opinion, that it would probably be closed at that time. Here, as in the former cases, there was almost a certainty of the measure being renewed when the limited time expired, and renewed with all the improvements which experience might have suggested.
Such being our opinion upon this point, we must at the same time express our belief, that Mr Parry has greatly exaggerated the number of charitable endowments, for the purpose of his argument. He says, that they probably amount to 100,000; but that 50 000 is the lowest estimate which can be made of them. Now, from Mr Brougham's statement at the end of last Session, it appeared, that in a portion of England containing nine counties, near a million and a half of inhabitants, and 1829 ecclesiastical districts, there were only 805 endowments connected with education. This would give an average of four such endowments to nine parishes or chapelries; or about five thousand for all England: And this estimate is perhaps rather over than under the truth; for the counties of Middlesex and Lancaster, with a population of near two millions, are understood to have fewer than 400 endowments; which deficit must materially affect the general average. We have been informed, that the whole number is under 4000. Taking it, however, at 4000, it can hardly be supposed that the charities wholly unconnected with education amount to 46,000; for most of the considerable charities, everywhere, have some connexion with education ; there being a very large proportion of endowments all over the country directed to the support of children, one of the helpless, and certainly the most numerous and prominent of the helpless classes. We cannot believe that more than 40,000 are unconnected with education; and consequently we deem any estimate as exaggerated, which carries the total higher than from 40,000