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from house to house, applied to domiciliary relief, which are customary in every city and large town in Italy.
From Dr. Bright's Travels in Lower Hungary*, we learn that Maria Theresa, wishing to ameliorate the condition of the peasants, by rendering their services definite instead of indefinite, promulgated a law, called the "Urbarium." The leading principle of this arrangement is, that for a certain quantity of land, supposed to be equal to the maintenance of the peasant and his family, the average of which is about thirty-eight English acres, sixteen to twenty of which must be arable, the peasant is compelled to perform a hundred and four days labour; but owing to the remnant of feudal manners, the controul the lords still retain, and the necessity of performing some other indefinite services still unabolished, the real number of days labour which they obtain from their tenants is not less than two hundred. Under this arrangement the peasants possess, in some estates, half the cultivated land. They are ignorant and barbarous to an extreme, and in times of famine are reduced to the most urgent dis
The only amelioration really effected has been in some particular districts, particularly in one called the Muriäkos, where the feudal services, * Pages 113, 114, 434, 474.
owing to particular circumstances, have been changed into free rents, not much unlike what are called rent-charges in the English law.
In Russia*, the Empress Catherine displayed unwearied attention in ameliorating the condition of the boors, or lowest order: of those belonging to the Crown, the abrock or rent is fixed; and as they are sure it will not be raised, they are more industrious. The peasants belonging to the nobles have their rent regulated by their means of getting money: thus it becomes not à rent for land, but a downright tax on industry. Each male peasant is obliged to labour three days in each week for his proprietor. If a slave exercise any trade which brings in more money than agricultural labour, he pays a higher abrock. The aged and infirm are provided with food, and raiment, and lodging, at their owners' expense: such as prefer casual charity to the miserable pittance they receive from their master, are frequently furnished with passports, and allowed to seek their fortune.
The state of the peasantry in Poland† is in a great degree similar to that of the peasants in Russia. They are all serfs or slaves, and the value of an estate is not estimated so much from its extent, as from the number of its peasants,
*Extracts from Heber's Notes in Clarke's Travels.
who are transferred from one master to another, like so many head of cattle.
But as aristocratical has always shown itself less favourable to individual liberty than monarchical government, there have been fewer laws made for their emancipation than under the Russian and Austrian monarchies. Those nobles who adopted this liberal policy seem to have found their account in it, politically as well as humanely speaking.
"In Ireland," says a correspondent of Mr. Gisborne (Duties of Men, vol. ii. p. 98), “we have no Poor Laws. Every Sunday a collection is made from the whole congregation, as with you from communicants; and the money is given to a list of poor, agreed on by the Minister and Churchwardens: these poor are parishioners of the establishment. The number of our rich absentees must greatly lessen public and private contributions for the poor. In particular cases our Clergy recommend, and the rich give in proportion to the distress, without regard to religious denominations."
Mr. Duncan thus sums up the result of his inquiries into the subject of the Poor in Ireland: "The Wealth of Ireland is less diffused than that of England; the great opulent proprietors are rarely resident on their estates. The middle class is proportionably small, and ill educated. The
poor numerous, ignorant, most prolific, and most thoughtless ;-mendicity universal: all the helpless, infirm, and destitute, seek subsistence from casual charity." "Wretches who cannot walk abroad to beg, are carried by their idle neighbours from door to door, and set down to obstruct the entrance, until they obtain a pittance of meal or money! Police in Dublin, and industry in Belfast, however, preserve their streets in some degree from such exhibitions."-Collections, p. 116.
"The cultivator of the land seldom holds from the inheritor; between them stand a series of sub-landlords and tenants, each receiving a profit from his lessee, but having no further interest or connexion with the soil. The last in the series must provide for the profit of all: he therefore parcels out, at rack-rents, the land to his miserable tenantry. Here is no yeomanry, no agricultural capitalist, no degree between the landlord and labourer, and the words "peasantry” and “ poor" are synonymous The peasant's wishes have no scope: he is habituated to derive from his land and his labour only his daily potatoes ; and we know that competitors offer the whole value of the produce, minus that daily potatoes For fifty years past Ireland has been disturbed and disgraced by a constant warfare between the landlords and their tenants."-State of Ireland: London, 1822: p. 34, 46, 47.
Hitherto, in speaking of the state of the poor I have been describing man as in a state of civil society, with fixed property in land; a few extracts will suffice to show the state of the helpless, old, and indigent, in the savage state :
"Old age is the greatest calamity that can befall a Northern Indian: for when he is past labour he is neglected and treated with great disrespect even by his own children. They not only serve him last at meals, but generally give him the coarsest and worst of the victuals; and such of the skins as they do not choose to wear, are made up into the clumsiest clothing for their aged parents, who, as they had in all probability treated their fathers and mothers with the same neglect, in their turns submitted patiently to their lot, even without a murmur, knowing it to be the common misfortune attendant on old age; so that they may be said to wait patiently for the melancholy hour when, being no longer capable of walking, they are to be left alone to starve and perish for want. This, however shocking and unnatural it may appear, is nevertheless so common, that among those people one half at least of the aged persons of both sexes absolutely die in this miserable condition."-Heame's Journey,
"Among tribes who subsist by hunting, the labours of the chase and the wandering existence