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coming to the conclusion, that, as regards the rural parishes of Scotland, the operation of the present law makes as near an approach as is attainable, under existing circumstances at least, to the system of relief which sound principle points out as applicable to the case of the able-bodied poor. It preserves to 'the objects relieved their status in society; it keeps the family 'circle with all its invaluable relations unbroken; it administers ' relief through a friendly and sympathizing channel; and it affords, again, to the affluent members of the community both an opportunity, and the means of dispensing their charity, ' in supplement of its own allowances, with judgment and dis"crimination. Thus, while it relieves the wants of the needy,, 'it excites in them at the same time emotions of gratitude, 'makes them realise the value of good conduct and character, 'probably opens up to them, if deserving, in case of their strength being impaired, new sources of employment suited to 'their diminished capabilities, and by all these means, and others ' of a like nature, fosters in them through a powerful appeal to every better principle, the full development of a contented, • thankful, and independent industry.*
The last remark which we have to make on the proposals for extending the Irish Poor-Law is, that so far as they are supported by a reference to the assumed success of the English Poor-Law, they, are founded on an assumption, which may turn out to be premature. The evils which the unamended Law tended to produce, were the most fatal with which internal causes have ever threatened a civilized nation. They amounted to no less than the ruin of all the proprietors, and the corruption of all the occupiers and cultivators of the soil. For nearly a century the mischief went on steadily increasing. Government after government tried vain expedients, or looked on in inactive despair. At length, the almost despotic power given to Lord Grey's government, by the first Reformed Parliament, enabled it to apply a partial remedy. The POOR-LAW AMENDMENT BILL was passed, and the plague, though not eradicated, was stayed. The remedy might have been effectual, if the recommendations of the Commissioners had been followed; and the out-door relief of the able-bodied prohi bited by the act. Bnt Lord Grey's administration, though the strongest that we have ever seen the strongest that we are ever likely to see-thought itself unable to resist the habits of a cen tury. The general prohibition of out-door relief, which formed a part of the earlier draughts of the bill, was struck out; and a
* Report of the Scottish Commissioners, p. lxviii.
clause was substituted, enabling the Commissioners to prohibit or allow such relief at their discretion. Out of the 595 unions into which England is divided, they have issued a prohibitory order to 478. But the order is subject to so many exceptions, that, at the last return, out of 1,470,970 relieved, only 215,325 were inmates of the workhouse.
In the mean time, the operation of the Act has been subject to every form of unremitting, unscrupulous impediment. It was unavoidably unpopular. It diminished the power of the Magistrates; it interfered with the frauds of the Vestries; it forced the Farmer and the Manufacturer to pay their own workmen; and it offended the Prejudices of the ignorant. The restrictions which it imposes on the pauper are to this extent penal, namely, that their object is to make pauperism less eligible than independence. Its advantages are diffused over the whole body of landlords, rate-payers, and labourers. It has saved the property of the two former, and the morals and freedom of the latter. The loss which it has occasioned is concentrated upon the comparatively few whose influence it has abridged; whose peculations it has checked; and whose powers of oppression it has destroyed. The majority, as is usual, enjoy its benefits in indolent silence. The minority are clamorous and active. The unhappy error of allowing the Commission to be temporary, has been a new stimulus to opposition, at every successive period of renewal. The Newspaper Press, with a few exceptions, have been sedulously employed to confirm the prejudices, and inflame the passions of the half-educated-to pander to coarse tastes and political ignorance, by inveighing against the separation of the sexes, the enforcement of labour, and the want of recreation; and by stories of infanticide, on the refusal of a pension to which the mother of a bastard was formerly entitled. Tory candidates in the counties, and Radicals in the towns, have proclaimed the tyranny of the Commissioners, the sufferings of the poor, and the wickedness of treating poverty as a crime; and have bid for votes by promising to restore what they called, with Mr Scrope, the Elizabethan Law.' It is true that few, perhaps none, were wild enough to intend seriously to perform this promise; but many have had the weakness to endeavour to seem willing to perform it. This has given to the Commons the appearance of hostility to the amended law. Those who have denounced it at the Hustings have thought themselves forced to carp at it in the House. The Triumvirate has been a Target in which every demagogue has endeavoured to fix his arrow. The Assistant Commissioners have been reduced in number to nearly one half; and yet the Commissioners have been held responsible
for abuses, which they have not been allowed the means of detecting. They have been treated after the Egyptian fashion: the tale of bricks has been increased and straw refused. They have been deprived of their organs, and then required to be omniscient.
Under the influence of all these obstacles, it is unquestionable that the administration of the amended law is retrograding. The following are the sums expended for the relief and maintenance of the poor, from Ladyday 1836, when the Amended Law may be said to have come into full operation, until the last
It will be seen that during a period, not merely of profound tranquillity, but of eminent prosperity, the expenditure has gone on increasing, until, in eight years, it has risen nearly twenty-five per cent. If its advance be not checked, it must in time eat away the whole rental. And, if the landlords try to save themselves by shifting the object, instead of by repelling the attack; if they try to divert it, by offering to it Funded Property, or the Profits of. Trade or Professions, or the National Revenue ;-if they weaken the local powers and motives of resistance, and trust our defence solely to central superintendence-though the ruin of the Land may be deferred, the ruin of the Country will be accelerated. We trust that we shall escape these as we have escaped many other perils which seemed scarcely avoidable; but we must say that of all the dangers to which we are exposed, those connected with the Poor-Law are the most threatening. Scotland and Ireland are bound to study the experience of England, not as an incentive, but as a warning.
Our plan, which is merely an amendment of the recommendation of the Irish Commissioners of Inquiry, would give to Ireland a system, in one respect resembling that which has acted so well in Scotland.
Art. II-A Selection from the Speeches and Writings of the late Lord King. With an Introductory Memoir. By EARL FORTESCUE. 8vo. London: 1844.
THE HE ingratitude of mankind towards their benefactors has long been notorious. It is not, indeed, universal. Neither Cromwell, nor Napoleon, nor O'Connell, could complain of illrequited service. But in general it will be found that those whose merits have been promptly and adequately recognised, have been men who have participated in the opinions and the passions of those around them. They have been statesmen, or soldiers, or demagogues, whose objects have been the same with those of their contemporaries, and who have differed from them only by perceiving more clearly, or employing more unscrupulously, the readiest means of attaining them. Men of a higher moral and intellectual character-men who are unaffected by the prejudices of their age and country-who refuse to aid in gratifying irrational desires, or in maintaining irrational opinionsmust not expect power or even popularity. They labour for posterity, and from posterity they must receive their reward.
But even posterity is not to be depended on. It does not, indeed, treat the memory of those to whom it owes its wisdom and its prosperity as its fathers treated their persons. It does not hate or despise, but it often neglects or forgets them. This is peculiarly the case where the services rendered have been those rather of a Teacher than of a Legislator-where they have consisted in exposing fallacies, softening prejudices, stigmatising selfishness, and preparing in one generation the way for measures which are to be adopted by another. The Prophet has no honour in his own country, nor, unless he be a worker of miracles, in his own time. Some think him a visionary, others an enthusiast, and others an incendiary or an anarchist. But his opinions gradually spread. They are first accepted by students, then by that portion of the educated classes which is not misled by politics or party, then by the mass of the people, and at length they force their way into the Legislature. The proposed reform is supported by minorities small at first, but gradually, though not regularly, increasing. At last it becomes an Open Question in the Cabinet; and then, though the mode in which it is to succeed cannot be foreseen, its final success may be predicted. The constantly recurring inconvenience of debates in which those who sit on the Treasury Bench have to answer one another-the
VOL. LXXXIV. NO. CLXX.
unceasing pressure from without, or some accident-a Clare election, a Revolution in France, a Financial deficiency, or a potatoe disease-effects the conversion of the head of the Ministry. He declares to his colleagues that the country has too long suffered from opinions which he now finds to be absurd, and from courses which he now finds to be mischievous. He announces that the measures which he and they have spent their lives in opposing must now be carried by a united cabinet. It is seldom that any of his colleagues resist. If any do, they are ejected. The public is too much delighted with the result to criticise narrowly the means by which it has been brought about. Still less does it stop to enquire who they were, who, in former times, discovered, or established, or kept alive the doctrines which are now bringing their fruit. It allows the Temple to be dedicated to him who first opened it for worship and use. His name is inscribed on the pediment; his statue stands in the portico; and after ages ascribe to him a fabric which, if he had been listened to, would never have been erected. Those who invented the plan, and dug the foundations, and raised the walls, are forgotten, or remembered only by political antiquaries.
If the Tract, the title of which we have prefixed to this article, had not been published, this would unquestionably have been the fate of Lord King. It may be his fate even notwithstanding that publication; and it is in the hope of averting such an injustice that we call the public attention to its contents.
Lord King was born in 1775, succeeded to his title in 1793, took his seat in the House of Lords in 1797, and appears to have spoken for the first time in 1800. From that time until his death in 1833, he took an active part in debate. It is not easy for a party man, and Lord King was a steadfast Whig, to be a regular debater, and always to conciliate his allegiance to party with his allegiance to truth. It is not easy when his party is in power; it is still more difficult when it is in opposition. For since a Cabinet is generally far superior, both morally and intellectually, both in knowledge and in public spirit, to the mass of its supporters, its measures are seldom positively wrong. Its fault consists not so much in what it does, as in what it omits, and an undiscriminating opposition must therefore often be an opposition to what is right. We can suppose a man honestly and wisely to support the measures of a government during a whole session, and at the end to join in a vote of want of confidence; just as we can suppose a man to approve separately of each act done by his servant, and yet to discharge him for gross omissions of duty. But, to do this, requires great forbearance and freedom from the party spirit which is the